Friday, September 5, 2014

Return to Plotland

My brain has finally achieved synchronicity with the present time zone, well, almost.  I fully expected my subconscious to have produced a solution to either of the two novels endings since I gave it a full month off.  Naturally, I have been disappointed.  My writer's brain is a lazy bastard and did nothing at all for me.

Nevertheless, my brain cleansed by a month's absence from working on the novel, I return to the keyboard and open the rambling monster the unfinished novel has become.  In a way, examining the abandoned draft is like an archeological dig where I am excavating for clues as to the novel's purpose, dusting off this fragment or that, mapping the corridors and rooms to once again getring a sense of place and time.

The map shows many, many places where I'd left helpful notes to my future editing self such as "What the hell does this mean?" and "Needs more description" or "Needs more dialogue."  If I wrote that why didn't I effing do something about it at the time instead of expecting the future me to know what to do? Was there some expectation that I'd return smarter or more knowledgeable. despite a long history that this would never happen?  Who knows - obviously I didn't.

Then there's the puzzling "Move this elsewhere" note.   Couldn't you have left me a clue, you idiot! I  have no more idea of where this fragment should go than you did!  Damn!  If I had time travel I'd go back and strangle myself, which would solve both problems, I think.  In other places I discover blocks of text highlighted in yellow, pink, and blue which add festive color to the draft but no explanation of their purpose.  Why did I choose those colors and why highlight that text at all?  I haven't a clue.  Perhaps in time it will come to me. I can only hope.

So where was I when I left? I clearly recall jumping around a bit to tune up this or that chapter but where did these three extra chapters of alternative plot lines come from?  Were they from an earlier draft or something new I was playing with just before I left on vacation?  Are they pieces I cut but did not have the heart to discard?  Perhaps further digging will clarify the question.

Finally, at the end of the draft I discover the outlines for the last few chapters I'd tried to nail down.  But before I can write them I have to finish reading all that went before to remind myself of what this novel was about.

After than all I have to do is edit it.


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