Friday, February 3, 2012

The Unwieldybeest: Revising the novel

With this gorgeous expanse of time I now have on my hands, Project Numero Uno has been to finish revising the (dang) novel.  I have a personal deadline of Presidents Day weekend, as that is when I will be attending the San Francisco Writers Conference.  My goal in this (please let it be the last) revision is to add/remove/repair/ensure that were it to go out into the world as is, I would be proud of it.  I've had to remind myself on an hourly basis to stop asking "will it get published?" and start asking "if it did get published, would I be proud of it."  And I'm inching closer to that goal, but revising a novel is a hefty challenge.  And while I had to look up just what the heck a wildabeest actually is (click here for some beautiful images from National Geographic if you are curious), the image in my mind all week has been of wrestling the Unwieldybeest.  As if the novel were this enormous, part mammoth, part alligator-like creature that I have to somehow find a way to capture and convince to wear a bow tie.  The Unwieldybeest comes close to hint that I'm almost there, just one more step/page/tweak, and then the ridiculous thing goes running off back into the forest.

I have tools for its capture: a color-coded spreadsheet of chapters so I can remember where things go, what season it is and who's doing what.  I have a hand-written list of the steps I want to make sure I hit before President's day weekend (including a checkbox for Celebrate, of course.  I do love a list).  I have feedback from trusted readers that I'm incorporating.  So, it would seem I have the upper hand with Mr. Unwieldybeest.  But it scoffs at my tools and good intentions and snorts with delight when he slips through my hands.

I'll get you yet, Unwieldybeest.

2 comments:

  1. "As if the novel were this enormous, part mammoth, part alligator-like creature that I have to somehow find a way to capture and convince to wear a bow tie."

    What an apt (and amusing) metaphor! My unwieldybeast and I are down in the mud, too, right now. I can't tell who's winning.

    Your 8 hour days are inspiring.

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  2. When your novel is done, Nate, it will have a bow tie, a cane and an entire musical number choreographed, it's that good.

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