Monday, November 12, 2012

My Daughter Uses Jenga Blocks as Dominos

I’m revising a novel. A first revision, although I revised plenty during the drafting phase. I spent hours on single sentences. Still, this is the first big-picture revision. Macro level. Redrawing the boundaries of nations.

This is my second go with a novel. The first made it through to completion and submission. But I’m realizing I never revised it. Not properly. Or at least not like I’m revising now. For that other novel, I wanted to hold onto a lot because the alternative was daunting. Revising a novel can feel like a game of Jenga. You don’t want to upset anything for fear of the structural ramifications.

But here’s what I’m learning: I’m not refining an existing tower, I’m building a new tower. Same components, new appearance. Nothing can be upset because nothing is set. The first draft was a blueprint on a napkin. This is the CAD model.

I try not to think of it in quantities of time. I try not to think to myself: holy hell, rewriting this chapter will take a month but revising it and forcing it to work will take just a few days. Because, really, there’s a vast gap between ‘the best answer’ and ‘a decent enough answer.’ And creating the best novel I can create is more important to me than creating a decent enough novel.

This is my way of explaining why I have nothing new coming out anytime soon. And also why I don’t mind. I'm enjoying the building.