So Close

When I last wrote about my current novel in progress, Time Passages, I was taking a pause before the final round of revisions. I am now so close to finishing.

Not that it has been easy. Well, some of it was easy. Obvious spots where I got too wordy, scenes where a character acted, um, out of character. Sections that were so redundant, I’m embarrassed I even wrote them. But there was that big rock to be dealt with, the need to shift my main conflict 90 degrees, forcing my protagonist, Cate, to truly struggle to reach the other side.

I wrote about twenty new pages to take the place of a thirty-page courtroom scene. Salvaged some of the best lines from the courtroom, of course, but got rid of the courthouse and the attorneys and the judge and the bailiffs. In their place are intimate scenes between Cate and her antagonist. And that’s the key word: intimate. I got rid of the unessential melodrama and drilled down to the essence of my characters and their painful conflict.

This is why we revise. And revise. And revise. To strip away the verbose explanations, the cute scenes that were fun to write and add nothing to the book, the minor characters who, as much as you like them, are unnecessary filler. I am so close to the book being just as good as I can make it—fully aware that my agent or an editor may ask for more revisions. But I’ll be ready to make the book even better.

I have a hard deadline too: to send the book to my agent the day before I head up to a favorite spot in Maine for a few days. The photo that heads this post is from there. It’s my inspiration to keep going. So close, so close…

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In which I blog about the days I write and the days I don’t write; about teaching about writing; about reading (which is never enough); and occasionally about music, because sometimes a three-minute song can tell as good a story as a novel.

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