Tuesday, June 10, 2014

A Year of Procrastination, Two Days of Work

On Friday and Saturday of last week, I sat down at last, at long-ass last, to revise Highbinder. I have had this endeavor on my to-do list since June of 2013, since I got some catalytic comments from a reader-friend. I can't believe it took me a fucking year. And I'm done with the first pass, because, as predicted in my New Year's resolution, it was really not that much work. It was burdensome psychological work to get myself to sit down, was all.

I did line edits (cut about 200 words that way, from just under 96,000), but more importantly I changed around the climax, some stuff throughout that informs the climax, and some of the (fictional) engineering of the world. I also removed most of the F-words in it (I resisted him, but my reader was right about that), which made me sad. I like F-words. I'm pretty sure I didn't fuck it up, but I'm going to let it sit for two weeks and then go through the whole thing again.

This revising entailed a full read of the book for the first time in many months. (For those of you following along at home, I finished the draft in January of 2013.) I shouldn't be surprised about this, but it felt...well, it's very much a book I wrote over a year ago, before I took the Esalen workshop, the UCLA class, or any of the CSUN classes. The prose often seemed clumsy, even though in reading I could remember firsthand the effort I'd put into the placement of every word. It's also very much a genre novel; everything was way overexplained, the dialogue sometimes told the story, and the narration is so far inside the protagonist's head that I should've been able to hear her heartbeat.

Ultimately, all of this is okay with me. I think the book works well enough as it is, for what it is, that I don't feel the need to start over from the top and rewrite it. (If it gets roundly rejected, maybe I will, but so far the only rejection has been because "I just didn't fall in love with the characters".) I worry a little bit about writing the sequel, because either the style will be quite different or I'll have to rewire my brain in order to put it together. The latter sounds exhausting.

It was an uneasy couple of days, but it was also such fun to dive back into that world. I enjoyed building it, and I can't wait to share it.

I don't know if it was the revising or something else, but a couple story ideas have dropped onto the pile, my first in several months. I think that means I need to get to my notebook this week. One of them came from work and the other from one of the weirdest damn dreams I've ever had, which linked sex with trains. Don't ask me. I mean...trains?

north by northwest
And not all delightful and sanitary like this 

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