Well, yesterday was the first day back at the Evil Day Job, the start of the spring semester (and the pilot test of the new Blackboard software for our online classes), and a day for generally clearing my desk, organizing my tasks and sorting out what all needs to be done by when. And I mostly did that. It was a bit of a rocky start to classes with technical difficulties and fielding the usual start of semester questions x 10 due to absolutely nothing being where the students expected. But I know how I’m going to approach all my work obligations for the immediate future and I’m diving in with both feet today.
The Hammer has begun her crit of DOTH (The Hammer’s laptop is still in the shop and The Hammer loves me enough to appropriate her daughter’s laptop as said daughter has gone back to school today). [Side note: She's working in Google Docs. Did you know you can see people making changes in there in REAL TIME? It's kind of cool. And stalkerish.] I’ve had almost a month away from this book. I didn’t reread it after I finished. I just put it aside and out of my mind (NOT my usual process). But it’s becoming increasingly obvious that there are some significant issues with this book–not the kind that can be rectified by a scene rewrite here and there and a quick polish (which has been all most of my work has required thus far–my prior work isn’t anywhere near this complex).
No, I’m going to have to write a full on second draft. The first half is about to be shrunk to just Act 1. I need a whole new Act 2 and some additional stuff in Act 3, and my final battle scene smells like that skunk that bit it on the curve in the road by the driving range on the way to work. And now that I can really see the problems, I’m not upset about having to do that. It’s a second chance to get it RIGHT. This is the most complex, creative, and emotional book (trilogy) that I’ve ever attempted to write. And it may be the last (trilogy OR book) I write that’s this complex until I’m able to quit my day job and do this for a living without having stupid things constantly vying for my attention. I’m convinced all the stress I had last year at work, with Daisy’s stroke, with moving all majorly contributed to my inability to SEE so much of this as I was working and to work through a lot of the details I really needed to know.
So a lot of work ahead of me. Probably beyond the end of Round 1 of ROW80. And that’s fine. I’m going to be all grown up and not freak out about this. I have this thing about hating doing multiple drafts. It’s part of why I became such a hard core plotter. I was trying to AVOID doing that by figuring stuff out on the front end, because exploring things and figuring them out IN THE DRAFT is hideously inefficient (and we all know how I feel about efficiency). But this is proof that you can’t always figure it out ahead of time. And that’s okay.
There are lots of writers out there whom I respect ENORMOUSLY who don’t get it right the first time. Check out Kristin Cashore. Dude she wrote Bitterblue in friggin longhand in NOTEBOOKS (and this is what her editor read, which puts her up for editor of the year awards, no contest). Over FOUR YEARS. (:refuses to consider this possibility: :refuses to hyperventilate at concept:). And the ever awesome Chuck Wendig talks about his editing process. As he says “Writing is when we make the words. Editing is when we make the words not shitty.” Frank and to the point as ever. I find that immensely comforting.
I’m also already revising my ROW80 goals (yeah I know, it’s only day 2). I’ve lost ALL momentum on my holiday plot bunny, so I’m going to set it to the side until some future date and shift my attention to Riven instead (at least until I have my comprehensive Kick DOTH In The Ass Plan). Everything else will continue as laid out yesterday.