Today I wrote the first draft of a scene I’d been avoiding for weeks. The rest of the chapter was drafted, edited multiple times, almost finished. However, this pivotal, possibly very painful scene sat there, an empty folder in the Scrivener file. It’s the last chapter in Part 2 of the novel. Several of the chapters at the beginning of Part 3 are amazing. Whether they trigger for the reader depended on how well I set up the chapter that was strangling me.
I’ve got the draft done. I need to go through the agonizing editing and re-writing process. I will modify and condense the language. I will assess the flow and the logic and movement of the writing. I will modify, condense, and re-write. I will set it aside for a day. I will obsess over it. I will re-read it a dozen, nay, twenty more times before reaching the “I don’t know if it’s good or not phase.” Then I will set it aside for a week or two, if I can bear it, then reassess once more.
This is my process. I am a loner. I figure things out myself. I wonder about the honesty and veracity of writers who say they simply write and write, then turn everything over to their editors. I find it hard to believe there are really editors willing to muck about with hubris like that. Are they better writers than I am? Does the quality of their language, construction and structure really merit such an approach? My mind boggles.
What have I learned? I need to be patient with myself. When I’m ready to write the scene, I will sit down and write it. If I wait until I’m ready, the words will flow black and even over the page, filling the white with thoughts percolated behind the scenes. The research comes together. The images coalesce. The conversations and questions I’ve asked each character in the middle of the night pull together. I sit down and write.
I see the arc and the flow of the novel now. Yesterday, I came up with an ending, which I’m afraid might poleax the reader. But, by God, it pulls everything together and sets up the next novel. It may be too deliciously circular to discard. Will I keep it? I don’t know. We’ll see where these characters take me as I continue to transcribe their stories. We’ll see…
Today’s musical selection is I Am the Ride (live) from Live As I’ll Ever Be by Chris Smither. Released: 2000. Track 14.