I don’t like calling it left-over Halloween candy. It is Perfectly Timed Twix. It is Just What I Need Butterfingers. It is Right Here, Right Now 100 Grand. And they will give me succor because the only thing I want more than inspiration is chocolate-fueled inspiration.
The first two weeks of October I finished outlining and spent many flop-sweaty creating a plot chart that I’ve adopted from some I’ve seen online (here are a few examples.) All the important things at a glance. I will do this before any first drafts ever again in my life. I still have to map out some subplots and figure out, quite literally, what days of the week some chapters occur in, and how many days or weeks pass between chapters. I don’t think I should have this much control over time and space. It’s dangerous and someone is going to miss dinner somewhere.
On the 21st, I started the rewrite, surrounded by the plot chart, outline, and five notebooks worth of ideas, notes, and “remember to do this!” Post-its.
When you write a novel, or at least when I write this one, there are holes. Giant plot holes. Larger than the ones in the socks I struggle to knit that resemble nothing like a human foot for much of the process. It is an act of faith and imagination, turning and twisting and imagining it as it will be. Occasionally you catch a glimpse that may just be…something.
You pick up stitches, adding where necessary. You let entire needles sit idle, hoping that nothing slides off and that all the work on those sections will come together when you need them to. You change the shape. You decrease. You increase. You try something you’ve never tried before and you swear like a longshoreman. I hear they swear a lot.
You start to hate it. You rip things out. You wonder if you’ll be stuck creating basic things. You wonder if you have what it takes, if you’re up for this, if you’ll ever not be stuck, and why this seems so easy for everyone else. (And if not easy, certainly faster.) You wonder if you’ll ever master this, come close to those you admire.
You seek help in person. On the internet. From books. Nothing quite works.
Then you hit the end and Huh. Ok. I see what I did there.
And you go for the next sock, the second draft. The material is still stricky and when you join things together you have to be careful not to twist things and create a loopy mess.
So here I go, a planned 6 month trawl through the draft, combing through everything. I don’t know if it will take six months. That’s what I’ve planned. It seems like a long time, and it seems like it’s an insufficient amount of time. It’s a completely artificial deadline. This is the rewrite that is intense, that fixes, that matters.
It is the one that reveals if there is some there there. Something people recognize as a story.
Or a sock with holes. Either one.
Highlights from October
- The best thing I read in October (finished reading, that is) was Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman.
- I read a couple of interesting articles on parenting in October, and found this one on helicopter and bulldozing parenting styles as well as this one on how PTAs need to work on their relationships with marginalized populations very interesting reads.
- We live in a world that is trying to establish (or eradicate, depending on who you speak with) digital boundaries. I liked this article and this article about posting pictures of other people’s children
- Your kid is already probably more than well-rounded enough even if they’re not sportsy.
- “And what, in fact, is dignity?”
This November I’ll be pinned to the desk, using my Nanowrimo mojo to rewrite at least 50,000 of the novel. It’s nuts and I love it.
I also have a birthday tucked in there somewhere midmonth. I’m not sure how I’ll feel on that day, but I can promise you that I will look askance at anyone who says, “Beats the alternative.” Yeah, yeah, I know.
Have a wonderful week!