Friday, May 29, 2009

Adrift

My agent is busy this week with BEA and a writer's conference and all sorts of actual non-Scott-related business. Which means that I've heard nothing from him about the revisions I sent off. Which doesn't surprise me. I don't expect to find anything out for at least another week, possibly longer. And that, surprisingly enough, is fine. I was asked last night if I'm nervous about my agent's response, if I'm dying with anticipatory dread and obsessing over the time it's taking for him to read the revisions. The answer is no, I'm not.

I find that mostly, I feel like I've finished that project and I can move on with my life. I have no expectations that anything will come of this. Part of me believes I'll never hear a word back from my agent, and that'll be the end of that. It's as if these last three months have been a manic dream, and I've awakened to find myself in my own life again, with my same job and apartment and day-to-day concerns. Nothing, really, has changed and I don't expect anything to change.

Without the surreal pressure of revisions, I am however at loose ends, cast adrift in my life again. I get home after work, make some dinner, play some music, clean my bathroom, do laundry, vacuum the floors, read a bit, watch DVDs...and I'm not revising a book. Nor, frankly, am I doing much in the way of writing my next one. I have a pile of research materials on my table, hundreds of pages of reading, and a couple of non-fiction books on the shelf, but I'm ignoring all of it right now. The books and research papers look at me askance, wondering why I don't turn my attention to them, but they can wait a bit longer.

I am enjoying this feeling of drifting, of floating just offshore, of having no obligations to literature or my next project. It'll all come to an end at some point when I pick up a pen and start hacking away at my half-finished outline for the next book. But for now I am content to drift.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Done for Now

About five minutes ago I emailed the revised novel off to my agent. That means I don't have to look at the ms for a while, and that's a relief. I can finish reading some things, maybe do a bit of research and planning for the next book, and stew while I wait for my agent's comments. I have, frankly, no idea what he'll come back with. We'll see, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Clearly Insane

I have a deadline, and I need to finish my line-edit so I can email my revisions off to my agent. And yet. I have clearly gone insane, because I find myself at this very late date rewriting scenes. I don't have time for this. As I say, I've gone insane.

And yet. There was one scene in my book that I've never liked. It was necessary to move the plot forward, and the scene after it (which scene I do like) makes no sense without this disliked scene before it, so I felt rather stuck with it and wishing I could find something else to put in its place. This morning, I had A Truly Great Idea for this scene, an idea that's had me excited all day and when I got home I spent hours revising the scene when I should have been finishing up my line edits.

The new version of the scene is radically different in an important way, and much cooler and weirder and surprising and I do love it. But now I have to get back to my line edits.

Update at 11:34 PM: Line edits done! Sleep now!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

First and Last Pages

"You know my methods," Holmes said to Watson. And anyone who's read my posts or comments in blogland knows that I believe firmly in the outlining method, of doing pre-production work and Knowing My Story before I begin to write. Knowing my story means, more than anything else, knowing how the story ends. I need to work toward something, to write at a goal, so I know where I'm going and how to tell the story.

All of which is to say, after a great lot of dithering I have at last figured out how my next book ends, and I've written the last page of it. Just this afternoon, over lunch. I had an image in my head and I wrote it down; yes I did, you boys. Now I have the first page and the last page and all I have to do is fill in the lengthy middle bits. How hard can that be? I've already got 1500 words; I just need to come up with 98,500 more. Piece of cake.

Working title of brand-new work-in-progress: The Factory.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Somebody Stop Me

Sometime toward the end of next week, I plan to send my revisions off to my agent. This week I'm giving the ms an alleged final read to catch anything that bothers me at the last minute. That sounds easy enough, doesn't it? The only problem is, I am apparently one of those people who can't stop fussing. As I go through my manuscript I can't seem to stop myself from making at least one change each page. "I can find a better word here," I say. "I don't like this sentence; I don't think I need it, either, so I'll just cut it." Really, enough is enough. But things keep catching my eye and am compelled to fix them. A lot of these little changes are questions of style rather than actual errors and aren't--strictly speaking--necessary, but I have learned to trust my instincts. Though there are three or so pages of dialog between two of the main characters and when I read these pages last night I had no clue what they were talking about. Maybe I was just tired. I'll have to look at them again tonight.

The good news is that, even though I've read this book a bazillion times over the last three years, I still like it. I think it's a good book. It's not perfect, but I'll admit that I am, yes, proud of the work I've done. Let's just hope that my agent is equally impressed. Otherwise, I'll have to rewrite it and put in a bunch of zombies and sparkly vampires.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Forward, Into the Breach

Last night, quite late, I began my next book. Oh, I've been hacking away at an outline for months now, but I didn't have any actual prose down on paper. But now I have what I think is the first page. It's only a single page, but it's a page that really pleases me. It also surprises me, because it isn't what I thought I was going to write. I had a specific image, of a locomotive moving through foothills at the base of a mountain. The protagonist is on the train, heading toward...well, something. Not your business just yet. Anyway, the writing took a different direction than I thought it would, and it's a good direction to take. I am well pleased, and I like the narrative voice.

It's also--despite whatever I may have said to anyone about how much I'm loving this vacation from working on the last book--both relaxing and exciting to be writing something new. I'm home again.