Getting Back In

Getting back into the novel now, after some weeks of just thinking about it, and doing other stuff -- such as notes for short stories that I know just cry out to be written down.

The current novel (short-form title: Sisters) has some structural constraints that are proving mildly awkward, and I haven't been inclined to proceed with it until these are resolved. Only when the resolution is accomplished -- to the over-all benefit of the novel -- am I content to proceed.

Mostly when I have a problem with the plot, it's just a matter of sitting down with pen and paper, making a few brainstorming notes, and -- after a good deal of staring blankly out of the window -- I can usually come up with something that not only resolves the problem but also fits well into the rest of the structure. It's not difficult, it just takes time. And if I've been 'away' from the story for more than a few days I need to immerse myself in it again, just to be able to think within its framework.

And I'm always revising, correcting. Every time I read through a previous chapter I find little things that need changing. I do them, there and then. I didn't do it this way with my previous (my first completed) novel. As a result I had to go through it from the start and revise. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but things get missed, even when reading it again for the first time after several months. With Sisters, if I see something that needs fixing, I fix it right away.

In general I know what happens in this story. Months ago I didn't: all I knew was how it ended. But I went ahead and started writing. I had a few key scenes that I knew would take place, but not necessarily where they would lead. The over-all plot of Sisters is now resolved, and I know where the characters will be, both emotionally and physically, at the end. But there remain a few how-do-we-get-there-from-here anomalies that I still need to sort out. This is what I'm doing now. It involves a lot of notes, much of the aforesaid fenestral-defocussed vision, and not much actual novel-writing.

But it has to be done.


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