I can tell I’m getting better as a writer, not because the best that I’m producing is any better — it may be, but I can’t judge that — but because I can spot and fix flaws that would have confounded me much worse a few years ago.
There are certain pivotal scenes in this novel that I suspect I will keep revisiting from now until they pry the book out of my fingers. They’re finicky, delicate little things, that need to convey fragments of information in an order and density and context that will let me tease out the strands of backstory at appropriate times, and as such it looks like they’re going to need continual tweaking. Today was a day of tweaking, as I ricocheted around several scenes toward the end of Act Three, cutting out a sentence here, sticking in a sentence there, changing the interpretation put on certain things, re-ordering the conversations and polishing the seams where bits got cut out and pasted in. I’m not done, and I know it; there are bits still marked with square brackets, reminding me of the places that will need further tweaking when other bits of the story get settled.
It used to be that once I got something on the page, if it wasn’t carved in stone, it was at least carved in clay and waiting to be fired. I’m sure I’m a better writer than I was when I first finished a novel, but perhaps more importantly, I think I’m a better reviser. I’m much more capable now of cutting a scene out, putting a new scene in, or remixing existing scenes to serve different purposes. I still think I’ve got a lot of room to grow on that front, but it’s obscurely satisfying to be able to fix stuff in such a fashion, even if it doesn’t technically move me any closer to the end of the book.
So I got all that in order, then did today’s writing, because I needed to make sure the fixes I’d thought of would work when put into the text, so the next bit of finicky backstory work will (hopefully) not need the same kind of changing later.
Even though it’s dumb, I may write again later tonight. I’m standing on the edge of a backstory precipice; I’m finally getting to talk about Suspiria. For a character who was one of the driving reasons I wanted to write this book, she sure doesn’t have much of a visible presence in the story, and it makes her few appearances all the more important. I’m not sure I want to leave this one for tomorrow, even if it means I’m unnecessarily squandering one of the days I have to figure out what I do after I talk about her. (The rest of Act Four is still muddy in my head.)
And somewhere in my life, I need to find the time to write the Gog-and-Magog and Onyx Hall flashbacks, and the one about the Queen of Scots that I’ll be arriving at soon, and also the Tiresias scenes. (The good news is, if I get all those done, I’ll hit 90K by the end of the month no problem; probably 95K, even.)
We haven’t yet crested the top of the hill, i.e. the transition to Act Five. But when we get there, it may well be a downhill sprint all the way.
Authorial sadism: nekkid Lune! Also, Suspiria.
LBR quota: Love, in a variety of odd ways.