Thursday, January 10, 2008

Hate being sick

I've had a cold this week, and it started out not so bad, but now it's really annoying. I like breathing, really. I wish I could do more if it and want this virus to get out of my system and leave me alone. Meanwhile, the first part of the novel is out to Critical Mass. It's past the stage where I can see the problems, thus making it ripe for my colleagues to pounce on it and tear it to shreds.

I remain the most inefficient writer I've ever met, having condensed about 190 pages into 72 for the beginning. I'm slow. I need to get a lot of material down before I figure out what the most interesting and compelling plot elements are.

Being in Critical Mass for six years, I had hoped to hone my first draft skills. I'd thought that with regular crits, I'd write with fewer silly errors and new writer mistakes each time around. Critical Mass has driven me to rewrite and rewrite like mad.

And the result hasn't been better first drafts. It's been greater endurance to plow through rewrite after rewrite. I have 44 versions of my first published novel on my hard drive. That is an insane number that most professionals would cringe at. The conventional wisdom is that that many drafts kills the central idea and produces an overworked, mangled piece. But, that's what it took to make that novel saleable; I workshopped it with different groups of readers, getting new ones each round who hadn't seen the earlier drafts, and the comments were absolutely consistent. The later drafts were better.

So, it appears that this is what I'll be doing for the rest of my life. Lots of freakin' rewrites....

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