The muse said, “Write this,” and dictated. The writer balked. “I don’t know how this fits together with what I’ve already written nor where it’s going.”
Patting him on the head, the muse whispered, “Don’t worry. It’ll all come together.”
Glowering, the writer did as bid, hoping that he’d get a decent editing muse assigned to him later.
I’ve been editing the novel in progress, The Constant. It’s the first go-through of the initial complete manuscript. Naturally, there are issues. Things were removed, facts and timelines confirmed — like descriptions and locations — and sections were worked over to make them punchier and tighter. All was going well. I was averaging twenty-five to fifty pages a day, comfortable progress. Then, on page three hundred twenty-seven, I began reading the chapter, Thelma & Louise. I knew within paragraphs that it didn’t work and began the struggle to fix it.
I initially approached it as a wordsmithing problem. Nope; wasn’t it. It was deeper. I wrestled for several days about why this chapter bothered me. The issue was a constant 24/7 thorn for more than a week. I tried working on around it, buy my mind was fused to the issue. I eventually decided it was too much of an information dump and would break it up into more digestible bites. Growing comfortable with that idea, evolving it by establishing where I’d cut it up, I began working on that.
That choice caused another problem, though. No answer arrived to it. Additionally, I found I was adding more material than I wanted to this story aspect. As I wrote, I liked what I wrote, but not that I was adding it.
Around day fourteen, three days ago, two answers came almost concurrently about what to do and how to do it. They arrived after I’d gotten up to let Papi out of the house and fed sick cat because he yelled in the middle of the night. After writing it in my head for a while before returning to sleep, I immediately began working on the revisions when I got up that morning. It was intense.
I finished it today, a satisfying moment. Whether the result will hold up to further reading and revising is another matter. When I wrote the original chapter, in two settings, the results pleased me. But this is all part of the exploratory and creative process for finding story and writing a novel for me.