The Writing Moment

Twenty-five percent through editing the third draft of “The Light of Memories”. It’s fun, and I think that’s because it can now be read mostly as a book and less than a work in progress. Small changes are the norm until — clunk, a section or chapter is encountered that needs such work that orange cones are deployed. I generally stop for the day when hitting those — there have been three — to think about what is wrong and how I might change it. I also continue refining the ending. Won’t know how well it fits now until I read through to it. Of course, the changes mean that there will be another editing and revision go-around before it’s turned over to the copy-editor.

Meanwhile, since I announced a new writing project will begin (yeah, it’s actually well underway at this point), several people have asked when the third book of the Life Lessons series with Studs will come out. I think I owe it to write number three.

I wanted to clarify my thinking about drafts. My first rough draft is labeled #1, but that’s a little misleading. My writing is an unplanned, iterative process. (There is a sort of map in my head, but heads can be so unreliable about this stuff.) So I don’t call those first efforts drafts, but iterations. Six iterations were pursued before the first rough draft was completed. It’s formally called a draft when a complete story — beginning, middle, and end — exists and can be read from one end to the other. With iterations, I often go down stubs to explore characters, concept, story, events, and settings. Some of these stubs don’t pan out. When that happens, a new iteration is initiated. Some stubs make it into the first draft but not infrequently are excised during the first editing and revision phase.

There’s always so much to read, write, edit, and do. Fortunately, it’s the life I’ve chosen.

The Writing Moment

It’s the blurt. This is the fun part of a new writing effort, when imagination spins up and the story rolls out like it’s on a fast-moving conveyor belt. Questions are asked about who and why, but answers are filled in fast. The story unwinds, teaching him what’s going on, and he spills it onto the page, connecting new dots, splicing in realized bits of stuffing about who these people are, why they’re together, their objectives and problems, their story.

He really doesn’t know where it’s going but that doesn’t matter. He’s writing, and it’s going somewhere. He’ll need to sweat some details later.

That’s later. Just enjoy the trip. Drink coffee and enjoy the trip.

The Writing Moment

Excited. Worried. Exhausted. Determined.

He sits and begins — again — editing the final twenty-five pages of the second draft of the novel in progress. The first draft had multiple iterations. This draft has undergone changes and now ‘feels’ better, but he believes another go through, maybe two, will be required.

He has his coffee and is ready to begin again.

The Writing Moment

He called it ‘a bad writing day’.

It was challenging and stressful. He didn’t like what he was editing, something he’d written months ago. It seemed good then but the need for deep revisions were obvious.

Disappointed, he struggled through as much as he could and broke it off to save his sanity. In truth, he was relegating the work to his subconscious. The next morning, returning to the manuscript, he understood how to fix that chapter. Coffee was poured. Revising was eagerly resumed.

The Writing Moment

The editing continues. He enjoys a pause to celebrate. It’s been almost three months of editing. He’s reached page 500. One hundred remain. Pure blurt, the youngest addition, he expects the final 100 to be the toughest.

Once that’s done, he’ll begin again. At least two more scrubs are needed. Probably more.

The Writing Moment

He worked on a chapter, again, then again. Boredom sank its teeth in him. He found himself chasing clickbait on the net.

A muse slapped him. “Hey. It doesn’t work. It’s not needed. Delete the chapter, fool.”

Well, there it was. He did so, but saved it as a doc. Just in case.

The Writing Moment

His backside had landed on the writing seat. Critically, fresh coffee was at hand with its inspirational aroma. Writing yesterday began like he was trying to unlock a rust-infused iron lock. It became an enjoyable and productive session. In a better mood today, he hoped for like success. You could never tell how it would turn out. The important thing was to attack it and get it done, day by day, session by session.

The Writing Moment

Coffee as cold as the outside cement sidewalks was tasted, accepted, swallowed. Another writing session done. He’d written almost a quarter million words in that first exciting blurt phase. It had lasted about seven months. Everything thought up was woven into the narrative. Now, the cooler, methodical revision segment was upon him. After six weeks, he’d completed almost two hundred pages of revising. Four hundred pages remained. Total word count had been chopped to below 190K.

He’d always known multiple chapters were goners. They were nice placeholders for thought and plotting for a while. Now the story was taking shape. The words were more precious. They had to prove themselves as worthy of belonging.

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