Saturday, July 30, 2011
Walking the Path Already Made
I have bitten the bullet and started the very necessary task of working through my novel, cleaning it up as I go. I get to marvel at my brief moments of lucidity and good use of language, I get to despair at the plain laziness and lack of inspiration in many parts. But that's okay, the beauty of a novel is that parts are torn and rebuilt as fast as a replacement can be imagined.
What makes the journey hard is the length, my days work amounted to a very small part of a greater whole. What's more that's time in which I won't be adding to my holy word count, in fact that will be diminished as I edit out the parts I deem worthless and trim down sentences so they don't flow like a blocked canal.
It's certainly not glamorous, walking over this path again. Seeing my points of strength and weakness, often I can remember where I wrote each individual section. I remember how I felt then, I wonder how I would have felt then if I knew what fate waited for my work. The fate of rework and deletion.
My editor hat is on now, I have become that critical person every writer fears who descends on his work with a scalpel and cuts out all that does not match my expectation. I don't care how much I loved a particular sequence when I wrote it, if it doesn't come up to scratch it's gone.
And, ultimately, most interestingly, I am not bothered by this any more. I feel my experience has added up enough now that I look at a novel as a whole. It has strong parts it has weak parts, sometimes something that's not perfect needs to stay in place to support the greater whole, sometimes something great needs to go because it just doesn't fit the tone or structure of a chapter. That is the essence of architecture and I intend to build something greater than any single piece.