Saturday, July 26, 2014

Making Space

I've returned to editing the novel. And it feels to right. And good. Which is really good because I don't often say that it feels good to be editing.

I freely admit that I am not generally a big fan of editing. It is one of the necessary tasks of writing, I know. But it doesn't mean I have to like it. I usually don't; or I at least don't find it an enjoyable part of writing.

After setting aside the memoir, I thought about which task to focus on. I have a short story collection in the works, one novel which was actively in revision, and another one I want to return to. And then there are some short pieces from the memoir I am still developing.

I signed up for a week-long writing retreat in October and will be submitting 20-25 pages of something to the facilitator for reading and feedback. I considered both the first novel and the short story collection. I had a good conversation with my Tuesday writing partner, Rooze, who had some good advice. I listened to what she said - she has many words of wisdom and she has both a BFA and an MFA in writing, so listening to her makes me wise, too. And i thought about what she said along with my gut feeling and opted for the novel.

Originally I thought I would go with the short stories. Three of them feel solid and two of them are done, in my opinion; two others are still being written and there are another three so far which may or may not fit. But they are my more recent writing and feel ready or near ready for another's eyes and feedback. And more representative of my current writing style.

But the facilitator writes novels. That was Rooze's advice - to think about what the facilitator is writing and pick what matches her strengths and her style. That felt so true and right. And I am in the revision and rewriting process of the novel, so I decided to go with that.

As soon as I made the decision to get 20-25 pages presentable for a new set of eyes, I had an insight about the book. I was able to move forward with the rewrites - from which I am taking a break right now to write this. I realized the first thing it needs is a new beginning - and that I had the basics of that new beginning in the book, it was in the wrong place.

So today I am having more fun with rewriting the beginning of the novel. I have moved a section to the front ad the rest of that chapter which be moved later in the book. It is actually an important scene, but that doesn't come out until the end. Where I had it, it's importance and impact were completely lost. But that was where it came out in the original by the seat of my pants writing. When I first wrote the scene, even I didn't know of its importance.

And this is fun. Yes, thankfully, finally, I am having fun with editing.

I know it won't always be this way. That sometimes editing is painful and boring and long. I know I will get to that point with this book later on, when I get the next draft done and I have to go back and do this again. Or there are a few chapters I already know will feel like slogging. But today, I'm enjoying the process of editing. And this is good.