I am putting off diving into Revision Hell for a time.
Part of this decision is emotional – I am just tired of the story and the characters. I need a break from them. More than that, I need a break from the grind of writing in long-form scenes I had previously created. I would like to go back to the purely creative side of the process, where I am brainstorming and excited and perhaps a bit manic.
Part of the decision is also practical: Given that I have to backshift the beginning of the story to match how it ends, I am going to need to run through the entire novel at once on the re-envisioning pass to make sure I can keep hold of all the plot threads and change them all to the final version of the plot. Such a project is going to require the ability to concentrate completely on what I’m doing. Probably for no more than a couple days, but that is still long enough to require planning. It is one weekend, yes, but one that is absolutely inviolate. It might happen if my husband is called away for work, and otherwise I will take a weekend sometime this summer and drive to my parents’ house in the woods and tell them to leave food outside my bedroom. Perhaps I will take the Friday after July 4th off and have a 4-day weekend to work with.
So, where my exhaustion with this story and my decision to move on to a new story rather than immediately revising leaves me is needing to pick a new project.
The one that I am planning to complete next – I say “planning to” because my muse may decide he has other ideas; that has happened many times before – is one of the stories that made me write my Twelfth Night novellas. Not because this story is related to them or in any way inspired them, but because I was having such trouble getting anywhere on the story that I had to stop and write something shorter just to prove to myself I could write romance and could finish a story other than fan-fiction.
I have about 7500 words written to open the novel and maybe two scenes from later in the story sketched. These passages go back to the creation of the novel’s Word document on December 8, 2010. Yes, This novel has sat, barely begun on my hard drive and in my mind, for two and a half years.
The reason I picked it up, out of all the stories I have begun on page or in my mind, was a conversation I had about a week ago over dinner. I was telling my friend – the only one of my in-person friends who reads romance – about Dear Author’s post suggesting the historical romance genre be allowed to die because she sees it as being stagnated beyond rescue. I was outlining several reasons I disgree with her assessment that self-pub can’t redirect it, and one of them was my own work, particularly this story that I have yet to write.
(I don’t mean to tease, but I never discuss particulars of my work before it is ready for publishing, so I’m not going to say what the specific moment is, but it’s a politically incorrect and more than a little brutal opinion the hero has, that I think is absolutely realistic and that would also be absoutely unpublishable from a major publisher.) Talking about the story with her reminded me how much it had engaged me when I thought of it originally. Our conversation made me want to write it.
A week ago, I assumed I would put off going back to this story for months – the months necessary for finishing the novel I was working on, then revising it, then writing the two side-shorts that accompany it.
Yesterday, I changed my mind. Partly it was the practical considerations of fatigue, lack of time to focus, and being too close to the draft to make hard decisions about revising. Partly it was listening to a (different) friend enthuse about how much fun she is having with a new project, one that had called to her and seduced her away from the project she had let her reason choose to come next. But mostly, I am jumping to this new old story because right now, it’s the one calling to me the loudest.
I am going to do my best to dive in and not look back. I am going to do my best to finish this one sooner than 20 months from now. I am going to attempt to roll Dean Wesley Smith style and not outline so heavily as I sometimes do, put in lots of little writing sessions to add up quickly to big totals, and just keep writing until it’s done. I am not shooting for a full draft in 10 days, but 2 months might be doable.
All right, muse. Let’s see what you can do when you put your mind to it.