I'm working this month on editing the novel I "wrote" last year (a.k.a vomited out a huge number of semi-related words with no structure or plan). I've learned so much about fiction in the last two weeks and my book is still terrible.
I've learned that I have to pay more attention to paragraphs. That I need to actually resolve (for myself if not everyone else) what the actual threat is in the book. Probably going to trim a good half-dozen characters. I'm feeling as though the story I wanted to write, the utopian vision, is disintegrating in my hands. But I'm also feeling that a) long-term creative studies matter which means that b) I believe I will live to see a day more than a month or two out. I don't think I'm alone in my perma-crisis around politics and the environment, so it feels good to take daily action against that fear--to say that I believe I will be here in thirty years, and I believe other people will too.
Assuming I ever get this "novel" (or any piece of fiction) into a workable state, I will have learned more than I can even imagine about how a story works. I've always been a bit afraid to really learn how stories work--afraid that if I took one apart, I'd never get it back together. But as I go, I find myself appreciating other writers even more than I do now. Every single thing about writing a novel is difficult, and they manage it. Which means I can, too.
The plan was originally to do 50 hours of editing in the month of November, but that's not feasible. So now it's 40 hours--I'm about 50% of the way through the month and about 25% of the way through my time goal. Ha! That said, 40 (or even 50) hours feels too short to get done what needs doing, so I'll just keep striving for that 40 hour goal and see where I end up.
Today I'm actually re-writing a scene instead of just moving things around and feeling overwhelmed. Things are starting to feel coherent and I've noticed a pattern--if I stay with it for too long in any given session, I get demoralized. But the beginning of a session usually feels pretty good. My mind is fresh and not tired with wondering what all is going to happen. I am less worked up about the massive plot holes and more ready to get to work shrinking them.
I doubt I'll blog daily about the process but wanted to share a snippet of what I've been up to.