Nanowrimo starts tomorrow. The plan last month was to finish up the revision of Hunters in October, draft my new shiny project during NaNo, and do the final polish and sub package prep for Hunters in December.
That went over about as well as Amazon’s claim that Wise Man’s Fear would be released in April 2010.
Every time I open Hunters these days, I feel like singing. This is the revision that nev-er ends, la la la. But that’s not really fair. Hunters took me two years to write, largely because I wasn’t a very good writer when I started and as I got better at it, I had to go back and make the stuff I’d already written better to match. Two years from sitting down and DONE. Then another six months in revisions of the whole thing (because revisions in process just don’t address the biggest issues anyway). Then another month putting together submissions packets individualized to each of the agents I’d decided to target (after a month of researching agents, querying, and submissions).
Fast-forward 5 months, most of which I spent wallowing in the misery and fatigue of my heart problem – I get a rejection from a full that an agent requested after reading my first three chapters and synopsis. The rejection had a few comments, most of them flattering: good writing, great idea, etc.. But it was still a rejection, and the why got me thinking about how I’d copped out on that final stage of revisions. How the beginning still wasn’t quite up to par, and how the overall structure of the story needed to change to really take advantage of the cues I’d layered so lovingly through the novel. Of how I was wasting two of my best characters in supporting roles and hinging my plot on the least likable of my protagonists.
After two months of thinking, I went back to the drawing board. Changed which character was the protagonist. Deleted two subplots that were hindering a truly satisfying ending. Really took an ax to those early scenes I’d written more than three years ago when I didn’t know much about tension or description or emotional connection with the characters. That took a month. Then I shoved it under the bed for a while and worked on something else – something that was not Hunters, by gods. It also wasn’t much of a story, but that didn’t matter. I was writing again. I’d begun to think I’d forgotten how.
Then I pulled my shiny new version of Hunters out from under the bed on October 1, because any time you make big edits you always edit in mistakes – typos, cut and paste problems, deleted words, misplaced articles… And I read it with the sinking sensation that I’d forgotten something. It took a binge of chocolate (ok, 1.5 servings of Dove) to get over it and get back to work. I’d forgotten that the ending I had originally written in 2009 wouldn’t in any way be satisfying if Jaim were the protagonist instead of Meulen, even though he took an active role in it. *facepalm*
So here I sit, on October 31, at the new mid-point of the book, the darkest hour of the main character’s experience (and darkest hour scenes are always hard for me, because when you write dark fiction, the darkest hour is fucking BLACK). I’ve got another 70k words or so to add to this novel before it’s DONE (again). And a shiny new project I’d rather be writing for Nanowrimo.
Ah, the joys of writing. Reminds me of being a parent. There comes a point in time when you’ve loved it and nurtured it and prettied it up and sent it off to find its way in the world… and then it moves back into your basement and blares the stereo at 3am.