Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Coming out of hiding

Okay, I'll admit it. I've been hiding. Some people may call it a vacation, but in truth I've been hiding from my novel. I think it's the result of editing on overdrive in February, and spending the early part of March consumed in other work, but as a result, this last week I've been hiding. I haven't turned on my laptop, I haven't picked up my printed pages, and I haven't figured out how I'm going to face my novel.

I've done a lot of other interesting things though. I read two books including Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde, which I was saving for just such an occasion, and strongly recommend. I finished the blocks for a quilt top I've been "working" on for many many months. I discovered bacon flavored chocolate-- or was it chocolate-covered bacon?-- and was much too disturbed by the concept to consider purchasing it. I made a pie to celebrate Pi day. And, I purchased an adorable elephant-shaped teapot to keep me company (and provide me tea) when I come out of hiding.

Now, as a writing companion, the elephant would be much happier if I were not hiding from my novel. I know I would be too. I don't like the feeling that I'm avoiding my writing, and yet...

But, enough is enough, right? When last I checked, I was at a sticky point in my editorial process. My writers group is busy evaluating my 100 pages from February, and I will find out what they think in a couple of weeks, but I can't wait that long to start editing my later chapters. I have entered the point in my story where my characters, plots, and subplots need to come together into a delightful ending, and it's a daunting prospect. Also, since I can't expect people to read as many tens of thousands of words as I have written, I need to cut thousands of words from these later chapters.

Part of my mind is trying to convince me that I should just wait for inspiration to strike. It suggests that I should give my novel some distance and try to gain a fresh perspective. But after a week of hiding, no perspective is coming, so the only thing I can do is confront my novel, and forage ahead. Only when I get into the undergrowth of my story and cut away all the weeds, will I find the path to my conclusion. But, I cannot enter that jungle until I come out of hiding.

So, here I am, novel. How about that?

I'm throwing down the gauntlet, novel. Ready or not, here I come!

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