Sunday, June 27, 2010


Here I sit on another Sunday afternoon creating the writing work list for the week. I usually start thinking about it sometime Saturday, helps to get me where I want to be by the following Friday. That's especially important this week as we leave for a much-needed vacation Saturday a.m. and I want to get through a complicated bit of revision beforehand. Just to refresh, I'm near the end of the first draft of the sequel to Matinicus (see for an excerpt of that ms), and I now realize I've revealed a rather important plot twist too early in the novel. Instead, it will make a perfect jaw-dropper just toward the end. I get excited when I have this kind of insight, despite the fact this particular kind of change requires careful surgery--character observations and bits of conversation taken from here and over there, all gathered up and moved around without disturbing the rest of the whole.

In a recent article, the writer Thomas Emson said about revision: "It's the most difficult part of writing a book, but the most honest part. It's where your story is unearthed. I've learned never to trust a first draft. The second draft is where you find your truths." So true. So for me, the fact I'm just now realizing that this bit of plotting isn't right means I'm entering that second, almost magical phase of writing a book. Slogging through a first draft is a lot like feeling your way around a dark room with no idea where you're headed, bumping into this and that and unsure why. With a second draft, you're eyes have adjusted enough that you can make out the important bits of furniture, maybe move things you've been stumbling over, kick other things away altogether. Bad analogy, I know; but you get the point.

So hooray. And, yes, I'll be taking the laptop along on vaca, hopefully uploading some sailing shots when we can find wireless. For now it's back to pulling threads. I'll let you know how I'm doing midweek.

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