Sunday, September 18, 2011

Transcendental Revisions, Part 3

Late last night, or possibly very very early this morning, I finished the second pass at revisions on The Last Guest. As usual, the confidence in the book that I lost during the middle of the revisions (when everything I've written no longer resembles any Earthly language) returned by the final section and I think, kids, that it's a pretty good book.

I'm currently in the middle of Agatha Christie's The Mysterious Affair At Styles. Reading Agatha Christie was a big influence on me, one of the reasons I wrote my own detective novel. I look at what Ms Christie has written and I compare it to what I've written and I don't see a lot of similarity (except for the trope of a detective solving a murder, that is). That could worry me, but it doesn't. My book is a lot more clear about what's actually going on during the investigation than Ms Christie's is. Possibly I tip my hand too early, but I don't think my book is about "who did it" so much as it's about what the hell my detective thinks she's doing. There's too much Nabokov, Woolf and--possibly now--Murakami in my head to write a truly straightforward whodunit. Is that good or bad? I've no idea.

What is bad is that my next task is to sit down and type all of my changes into the master document. I really really really (really) hate that step. It's the sort of thing I enjoy not doing, and I will probably stretch the work out over at least a week. After that I get to read the whole book again, hurrah! My eyes are crossed in anticipation of yet another read through.

I'm also thinking about my interrupted work in progress, Go Home Miss America. I have a pretty good idea of what the next chapter will be like. The chapter after that is still vague. Somewhere I've got two or three sentences scribbled down about it, but that's not much help. I think there's a goat, and a trip to a village, and then some automatic weaponry. Maybe.

This is a very dull post, but I like to keep track of this stuff and a blog is, if nothing else, a handy sort of diary.


  1. You know Mr. Bailey, I'd like to say I admire your dedication to your craft very much. You always seem to be working on one book or another. I mean, I do too, but I'm not sure I'm as dedicated. You're always "accomplishing" things whereas, I'm always just still "working" on them.

    Also, love the title of the new book. And I think one deserves to have an automatic weapon AND a goat.

  2. Hi Scott! Congrats on finishing this next revision...although you should go type it up first. Do it now! I spent about an hour revising 5 pages of Cyberlama this weekend. I'm doing the pen and paper revising, which is rare for me. But good. And my handwriting is not as bad as I feared it would be.

  3. I keep saying to Davin, "When I'm done with this book, I'm taking a year off from writing!" I have been saying that for the last three books, I think. Maybe it's time to admit that I'm not really going to take that break.

    Anyway, I think it's important to just keep moving forward. You have to keep working to accomplish anything. And you, Anne, have accomplished things. Not just in writing. You've got your daughter, your mother, and God knows what all else to deal with. My non-writing life is pretty stable (and child-free), so I have the luxury of writing every day. So I don't think dedication is the issue here.

    Wait: goats with automatic weapons! A YA adventure starring goats on a dystopian ranch! It's never been done!

  4. Davin: I hate typing in changes to manuscripts. I'm putting it off until at least tomorrow night. Yes, I am. I'm obsessive about keeping everything current, typing everything up at the end of each chapter, but that always always falls apart on the third revision. I am hoping that there will be very little work on the next draft. We'll see.

    Yay, Cyberlama! Yay, longhand!