July 16th, 2007

woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Revisions redux

Progress, but not completion. 

The good thing (!) about being told by agent and editor that the beginning isn't strong enough is that you start revising where you'd have to start anyway (if you want the finished work to be smooth throughout) but without the worry that the changes you're making will undo something already really good.   Any change needs to be feathered in both before and behind, so it doesn't show, and the farther back you start the feathering in, the better.  So starting at chapter one and working toward the end will (nearly always) produce the best possible result. 

The bad thing (or less good thing) is that if you do the job you need to do in chapter one, there are still twenty-something chapters to go....YIKES!   But once the setup's done, the rest should go smoothly.  I hope.  Still, it's after one in the morning, and I have only three days before I leave for Conestoga, and *somewhere* in there I need to, you know, pack and stuff.  Wash hair.  Do those other little things that need doing. 

The first fix-it scene went very fast and easily.  The second one is being difficult, I think (finally) because I haven't scrapped enough of the original.   Hmmm.  I may have to print out some of this and look at it that way.  I've been making notes on yellow pads off and on all day, as well as staring at the files onscreen.   I'm also aware that this is going to screw up my usual chapter lengths, but I shouldn't worry about that now.  Reallocating  chapter divisions should come at the end, when new material may make different logical breaks.

Meanwhile, my shoulders are knotted, my eyes are burning, and Richard's been asleep for hours.  Time to shut down and go to bed.

  • Current Mood
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Too little sleep...too many ideas...

Staying up after midnight is not good for larks who wake at first light or first birdsong, whichever comes first.   And no afternoon nap today; we have a funeral to go to.  Margaret Stoner McLean, old Texas family married to old Texas family, the mother of our friend John McLean (who is also Michael's godfather.)

However.  Ideas abound, because I lay there in the early near-darkness, thinking "OK, how do I fix *that* one?" Unfortunately, coherent writing is not the necessary consequence of having an idea.  Ideas have been jotted down so I don't lose them.  Coherence (in the fictional sense) will come later.  Maybe.

(So, why am I trying to write here, when I claim I can't write the revisions?  Because chatty writing is different from first-drafting fiction...and maybe in another half-hour I can go back to sleep for two hours, which would then make the afternoon more bearable.)

Some of the ideas appear (even in daylight) to be good ones.  Others..I'm not sure of.   (Wow!  A hummingbird just flew past, then buried itself in one after another Rose of Sharon flowers.  We have the lavender with darker centers and the pure white.)

  • Current Mood
woods, Elizabeth, camera, April

Transportation woes

We got back from the funeral this afternoon and I called the car place.  They were supposed to call last week when they figured out what was what with the old van (not *that* old, only 9 years....) but they hadn't, so I did. 

Seems it needs not just a new compressor for the AC, and some tune-up stuff, but a new engine.  WHAT?! I exclaimed.  Can't be.  It runs fine--plenty of power, no problem with hills (for instance), smooth as a hard boiled egg.  Only recently there was this kind of whistle-y noise when I started her up, that's just a valve problem or a belt problem, isn 't it?  Apparently not.  Apparently there's something deeply wrong down in the guts of the engine, and someday in the not-too-distant future it's just going to seize up and die. 

And fixing it is a four-figure project.  At least.  OUCH.  We have to get a new roof.  There are other pretty-urgent needs.  This car was supposed to hold it together for another couple of years.  The '84 went ten years before I had to replace the engine and then several more years after that...the old '69 Rambler was still going strong at 15 years when I sold it...