Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Getting into a Rhythm

First of all, a correction. I’ve no idea what I was thinking when I said I was nine thousand words into my new version last time I posted. I was just over three thousand. Now I’m pushing five thousand.

The important thing to say this time is that I think I am finally getting into a rhythm. One thing helping me is realizing that I don’t have to polish as I go. I’ve been editing and polishing this thing for so long (years!) that I find myself stopping to work on improvement when I see some words aren’t quite right, or I haven’t thought about sensual details, or I’ve put something in that duplicates something I’ve already covered. I’m getting it through my head that I don’t have to fix those things now. I can go back and work on them later. Right now the important thing is to get this new beginning off the ground and catch up to the point where having changed the beginning no longer matters. I haven’t tried to decide where that will be, but I’m confident I’ll recognize it when I get to it.

I had a sweet moment today when I found a perfect spot to slip in a sliver of a scene from the very first page I wrote back in 1975—the spot where Chris tells Mollie he’s thinking of taking a vow against kissing (all the rest of that scene is gone now). I hadn’t worried about losing it, but in this brand new scene I was writing—again with Chris and Mollie in the kitchen, only now they are married—it dawned on me that I had a spot where it fit perfectly.

I have written two brand new scenes yesterday and today, and that has been a pleasure after working over old ones for so long. It’s been nice to find out I can still do that, and I have another one to do coming up next, hopefully yet tonight, depending on how it goes. This is one I side-stepped when I wrote the original. Back then, I chose to let this scene happen “off stage” while I took the reader into the kitchen to watch what was happening there with two other characters. Now I know I have to deal with that scene head on. It lays an important foundation for that slap scene that started this whole change-the-beginning business. I’ll let you know next time how it went.

One another loose end, by the way, in case you remember when I was thinking about making serious changes in some character names . . . I’ve made my decision, and I’m changing only one. It’s not a major one or first name. To keep Baldwin and Barrett from being confusing, Sharon will now have the last name of some of my ancestors I didn’t know about until 2000, the Champlins.

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