It’s been that kind of week. Let’s see. I saw one crocus yesterday, many weeks late, pressing its way through the mud and melting snow, kicking off the start of MUD SEASON. Yippee.
Boat work – pending. Last Saturday the world looked, yet again, like a Currier and Ives Christmas scene. Not that I was shoveling my way down to the boatyard. I’m supposed to monitor my blood pressure, which normally tends to run low, often in the 90’s over 70’s. That’s normal for me. 80/55 is not. So more visits to the cardiologist, and several more ‘ists’ of one variety or another in the days to come. If anyone has any thoughts, theories, or insights, I’d love to hear them. I really, really would.
The silver lining to all this frustrating down-time is that it leaves me oodles of writing time. And while I’m waaaaay behind schedule for getting Evacuation Route wrapped up, I’ve been making headway fast, and loving every second of this story…at last. Two days ago I wrapped up my second read-through/edits, which left a bloodbath of cut chapters, dead darlings and a stack of notes, back-track reminders, and whatnot that I’ll be cleaning up and shuffling into order. When I started this book I worked off what I’d taught myself in the first two, which, to be honest, wasn’t a whole lot.
It wasn’t long before writing stopped being fun and got hard — way harder than I ever imagined, and if I didn’t like what I was writing, how could I expect anyone to enjoy what I’d written? I had a choice: give up, keep beating the same dead horse, or scratch it and start over. What to do? Well, Sandy answered that, flattening round one of Evacuation Route with one large tree in the middle of my home. I wasn’t happy with the story or how it was unfolding, and truth be told, even at the time I had a feeling that oak had done me a favor, writing-wise, at least.
Through the months of rebuilding I kept telling myself I was starting over with the book, not that I was ever entirely convinced. Before the storm I’d been trying to project the theoretical damage, had Irene made a direct hit. Sandy solved that as well, and provided me more material than my first manuscript could absorb. Trying to merge the new ideas into the old was yielding something unmanageable. Actually, ‘Train Wreck’ was my name for it, and finally, I made the grim decision to scrap Round 2.
I wasn’t throwing in the towel. Far from it. But I knew if I couldn’t make this work — not the story so much as my writing methods — I might as well admit defeat. So this time, before I dove back in I decided to give myself a crash course in REALLY writing, devouring everything I could get my hands on, dissecting different approaches for going from concept to completion in the most effective and efficient way, telling a fluid, cohesive and entirely unsettling tale of murder, mayhem, and psychological — uhm, let’s just call them ‘problems’. I analyzed what worked for more prolific writers I admired and what would work for me, efficiency-wise. I figured out what was and wasn’t working. I found new ways to herd these cats — I mean characters — and everything began to fall into place. I decided that rather than try to sort out the mangled remains of the first two rounds, I would simply ignore everything I’d written to that point and start fresh. From that emerged Evacuation Route, Round 3. And while I would rather not have taken the scenic route to this point, the trip was a necessary one and the knowledge I gained along the way was invaluable.
So now it’s back to Book Three, round three, edit number three. I’ll let you all know how it works out.
Oh, yeah. And 80/55. Any insights, anyone?
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