Backstory: Discovering My Novel All Over Again
Part of my journey during these five weeks in Evergreen, Colorado, has been to spend time working on the revisions to my second novel. I am near the half-way point, and estimate that there are at least thirty-three more chapters to revise. My goal is to complete fifteen chapters while I'm here. To accomplish that feat requires that I work on the chapters every day, which is one reason why chapter posts out number posts containing my 'thoughts of the day'.
What has been the most interesting part of this process is that I truly don't know where it's going. How is that possible? Well, I began writing this novel over six years ago, and while I completed about two-thirds of the book, I did so in a haphazard way. As the chapters alternate between Moscow and Lake Tahoe, I sometimes worked chronologically and sometimes jumped forward working solely on the Moscow chapters while leaving the Lake Tahoe chapters blank, only bookmarked by chapter headings. Then I quit writing five years ago, and put the novel and the rest of my work away and never looked at it again.
My approach to the revisions has been to separate out each chapter into a separate word document that I work on one by one, now working in a strictly chronological order. However, because I have not looked at the book in so many years each time I open a new chapter it's a revelation. On the one hand, I am like the reader seeing the work for the first time, wondering what is going to happen next. On the other hand, because I am also the author, reading these pages takes me back in time to where I was when I wrote them. And then, because it is a revision, my goal is to take what is there and try to improve it. Needless to say, it has been quite an adventure.
The most challenging part is yet to come: somewhere down the road, I am going to meet one of those chapters that contain the heading followed by a blank page. That is where the real fun will begin....and just for the record, even I don't know 'who done it' yet, from what I remember, I never figured that part out...although oddly, the last page is already written!