Novel in Progress: Week 4

I had planned to read my manuscript, jot down an outline, and do some research.

I botched up my plan. That’s what I do sometimes: plan to do one thing, end up doing quite another. How did it happen? Well, I started reading my first chapter, and got stuck in it. I didn’t like it as much as I had when I’d first written it. Obviously, I couldn’t move on. So I tossed sentences around, deleting a lot, adding some; I changed wording; I whittled down and sharpened the dialogue; I charged up the five senses in the description of the scene; I worked on Kate’s voice, trying to make her sound as she does in the prequel, A Measure of Guilt (I reread some chapters from it); I thought about a hook, high stakes and a cliffhanger, and so on.

I worked on the chapter the entire week, but I still didn’t finish it. Or rather, it’s finished, but I’m not satisfied with it.

I’m the harshest critic of my writing. If I don’t like it, I can’t possibly expect my readers to like it. So I will keep working on it until it sounds OK—to me.

Next week I hope I’ll finish this chapter and start revising Ch. 2.

Today I reread the WD interview with Chris Cleave, British bestselling author of Incendiary, who said about himself, “I’m not one of those writers who’s naturally gifted. I have to work at it.” (Writer’s Digest, Sept. 2012, p. 46) I was surprised and…glad, because I can certainly relate to that.

He also said this: “I like to be honest with my readers. My deal with them is: I promise to only write about things I really care about.” And that’s exactly how I feel about my writing and the theme that I’ve chosen for my new novel.

I’ve been thinking…maybe I should stop blogging about this novel in progress, since I’m moving at a snail’s pace? Then again, I’m so curious about how many weeks/months it’ll take me to finish it, not to mention the fact that blogging keeps me accountable. So I might as well continue. 🙂


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