Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Work In Progress: July


While this month wasn't a huge one for writing, two good things happened with my book. The first is that I read the whole thing from beginning to end and made many notes as I went, marking sections that were cliche, circling things that were working, noting scenes that were repetitive, and starring sections that would benefit from exposition or dialogue or better writing in general. I did most of my reading first thing each morning at the house of the professors whose dogs I was sitting for most of July, in their lovely sunroom, taking breaks to throw a battered chew toy in the backyard, which is bordered by a creek and full of morning birds. It went well. 

The second good thing was that I started in on the second draft. So far the main thing I've done is change the book from third person point of view to first person, which feels more natural, at least for this project. I've also been moving scenes around, deleting things and rewriting whole pages here and there, and I've expanded some of the backstory, removed characters, and added layers that I didn't know were missing. Basically, I'm filling in holes and taking out the especially shitty parts, and while the book still has a long, long, long (long) way to go, I'm beginning to see what it could look like when it's finally done. 

My plan for the rest of August is to continue changing everything to first person (I'm currently half way through the manuscript), and write three missing scenes I skipped the first time around, because they require research that I didn't want to do for fear of losing my momentum. School starts on August 21 and while I'll have more things to do (teaching two classes, taking one) I'm looking forward to having more structure and being back in the academic mindset. While I've made a lot of progress this summer, it's been a bit slow and leisurely. I want to kick it up a notch (or five), especially since I'm giving myself a mid-September deadline to get a draft to my thesis advisor. (Theses aren't due until mid-December, but I'm eager/terrified to hear what someone else things of my book. Little things, like: does this have potential, or am I completely delusional?) 

I was hoping to write a million words today, but my syllabi for the fall semester are due next week, so I'm going to work on that for a bit first. And also we have to inspect the beehives this morning (which is research for the novel, so that sort of counts as book time.) And I promised Calvin I would take him for a short run today, as a latest attempt to help him lose weight. And you see why novel writing can be hard in the summer? At any rate, I'd better get started. 

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