Saturday, August 06, 2011

Envisioning a better book

In the last few working sessions on my novel, I've been writing a crucial chapter -- I say it's crucial because it is really the turning point of the second part: By the end of this chapter, the main character has started down a road he will never return from.

As I work on this chapter I've been following a pattern of drafting content in one session, completely rewriting it in the next. Last weekend, for example, I completely rewrote on Saturday what I had struggled through on Monday the 25th, when I took a vacation day to write and could come up with nothing more than 150 words. The result was much better than I wrote on the Monday, that's for sure. So this chapter has taken me longer, but it's the better for it.

I still have glimpses of a better book, one in which the language is polished and things are truly good. I'm starting to realize that my first novel "Make Nice," for example, was, well, good in some ways, but not very good in the ways that count. By which I mean really interesting prose, a lack of dross, some inspiration and originality. (It does have some of that, and of course those are the best parts. The climactic scene featuring Marilyn Monroe, for example: really good.) If I were to tackle a rewrite of "Make Nice" now (which I will never do), it would be a lot better. But I think I can learn more from writing new books, not rewriting old ones.

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