Saturday, July 14, 2012

Revision Pool, Revisited

Bonn on the Rannoch Moor

Back in March I wrote about how Discipline is Remembering What You Want.  To that quote, I would now like to add, "And Acting On It."

In the intervening months we've had a few changes going on in our lives.  I'm no longer volunteering at the Conservators' Center -- but I have started doing some work with CLAWS, a rehab & release wildlife group.  I spent most of February through May working on a series of Print & Play games for my son-in-law's Christmas present.  I read a lot.

And, I avoided writing.

I knew I needed to take a break.  After two years of revising and revising (and revising and revising) The Book, I needed some distance from all of it -- the continual revising, the repeated feelings of this is going to be THE revision that gets me a contract, and the ever-accompanying crash of disappointment when Agent X said it wasn't quite there yet.  Sure, aspects of the story was getting better, but my enthusiasm (and ego) were getting weary of the rejections.

So, I decided I would give myself six months before pushing myself back to the virtual writing desk.  Six months without thinking (much) about either The Book or the other story I had kicking around in the back of my head.  Six months of guilt-free avoiding writing.

By May, however, the mental itch to start writing again began making itself known.  I thought I would start writing again in June, but I still hadn't decided what I was going to work on.  Then June got busy and my indecision failed to abate.  

Part of the problem was that I had decided that if I was going to revise The Book, it was going to be with a distinctive narrator voice.  That had been a feature of the book when it first started to take shape in my mind.  Then, as the writing started to happen, I quickly abandoned it, thinking it was a bit too contrived for publication.    I think that was a major mistake.

A strong narrator's voice, especially one that is a cross between Monty Python and Little Britain, must be done with an eye towards complimenting, not interfering with the story and the characters.  Philip Ardagh did it skillfully in both of his Eddie Dickens trilogies (which I referenced in my query) and was the kind of writing I wanted for The Book.

It may not be quite "back to the drawing board" but it is back to the Deep End of the Revision Pool.  I wish I could say it was with something akin to renewed enthusiasm, but it's not.   It's more like knowing I have a lot of hard work ahead of me that I'm willing to do because I believe in the story and the characters and my ability to bring it all together the way I feel it deserves to be.

-- Tom

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