27 January 2013

In Celebration of Groundhog Day

Now that I'm healthier and back to a more normal schedule, I've begun the hard work of what is hopefully my last major round of novel editing before I start sending it out into the world. There is one (rather big) thing that I've been struggling with. The beginning. I don't think the current beginning sets the story up in the way it needs to be, nor do I think it does a good job of introducing Jezebel's character.

It's kind of a problem, as you might imagine.

Over the last few weeks I've been, quite casually, tinkering with the first three pages. Switching out one word for another, testing out the subtle twist I've been contemplating in Jezebel's story, wondering what I really need to do to make this start into what I want it to be.

So I've settled upon a little experiment. I've been contemplating it for awhile, but when I looked at my calendar today it became clear that now is the perfect time to begin. Saturday is Groundhog's Day.

In that spirit, every day this week, all seven of them, I will rewrite my first chapter. I won't look at any previous drafts. I'll simply start fresh, word by word, every day from now through Saturday. Next Sunday I'll read through all seven versions and see if there's any worth pursuing.

I really needed something to get me back into the rhythm of daily writing and I've needed some motivation to tackle this difficult part of the rewrite. This idea seems to do both for me and I'm rather excited to see what comes of it.

13 January 2013

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

If you're curious why I've been a bit quiet as of late, it's because since December 23rd, I have been plagued with one type of illness or another. Today is my first day off where I haven't felt miserable. It's disturbing just how exhausting misery can be. My body, my brain, and my spirit haven't felt like doing much lately.

This has included writing.

I've been waiting for the time and space of January to take a look at my novel. I did a pretty extensive edit this past fall and I wanted to let it settle before I went back in to see if the changes are effective. Originally, that was what today was going to be about, but some other plans and necessities became more important.

I've been thinking a great deal about this novel, even though I haven't been actually working on it. The other morning, as I was driving to work, I was thinking about a few of the books I've read over the last week or so (Lisa Schroeder's Falling For You and Nova Ren Suma's 17 & Gone) and the female characters in those novels and the challenges they face and I couldn't help but think about Jezebel and the challenges she faces and the reasons why she makes the choices she makes and why she reacts the way she does to certain events. And I as I was thinking and pondering, I fell down the rabbit hole of What If...

What if...
What if...
What if...

And in my mind, travelling down 205 at *cough* 70mph, I began to rewrite Jezebel's back story yet one more time. And then I began rewriting the first chapter, which I've been needing to do for a very long time. The story just doesn't start in the place it needs to start. I'm not thrilled about all the rewrites this idea would cause, but the this new possibility has been nagging at me for all week and I think it might be the exact right thing to do.

So I'll let the idea simmer over the next few days until my long weekend arrives. Then I think I'll run away for a day with my manuscript and some time alone and we'll see what happens. It's been such an interesting process working on this book. It's probably been both the hardest and the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life.