My novelists’ support discussion group met tonight, and for the first time I didn’t want to talk about how the novel is going. As I casually mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’ve put Meet the Larssons aside for a while, to gain some additional distance and to work on Project Hometown (which needs a better working title, I know). Tonight, I really felt how big a decision that was, and started to regret it.
I took a two month break from MTL when I finished the first draft last October, but that was in triumph, and I was giddy with the flush of accomplishment. This time, I’ve been screwing around with the revisions for close to six months and have nothing to show for it except 350 pages of manuscript covered with blue scrawl (bad) and 150 pages that haven’t been touched yet (worse) plus notes for scenes that haven’t been written yet (worst). This break isn’t a well-deserved rest, it feels like an admission of defeat.
Revision is hard work, and requires more organization and consistency of effort than writing the first draft. For the last several months, I haven’t been able to commit to that much self-discipline because things have picked up so much at the office; I’ve been traveling a lot, blah blah blah. I can make all of the excuses for myself that I want, but they’re all bullshit.
What it really comes down to is that as I reworked the book, I lost the voice of Jake, the main character. I couldn’t get inside his head any more, and with a book told entirely in the first person, being stuck on the outside is problematic. He became flat, and passive, and finally I just wanted to stop. I still expect to come back to Jake and Meet the Larssons in a few months. Maybe in August when we’re on vacation, and I’ll have a little more time; maybe when I finish the first draft of — or get stuck in the middle of — Project Hometown. Whatever. Oh no, poor writer-man, lost his character’s voice! Author FAIL.
I outlined Project Hometown pretty thoroughly over the winter, about 40 pages worth of synopses, character backstory, plot notes, etc. I’m hoping to move this draft along more quickly, and maintain a better story arc than I did with MTL. The main characters are all a little angsty, but I’m hoping the process of writing it will be less angst-ridden than MTL was.
Angsty Writer Poetry
Little Unfocused Me
Lost his MC
and didn’t know where to find him…