Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Pressure? What pressure?
Two days ago, my friend Sharon came up with a brilliant solution to a nagging problem in the novel-so-far. This ties up all kinds of loose ends (even though I'm only halfway through the book) and also considerably deepens the characters' emotional turmoil.
As somebody once said, "Your job as a novelist is to find characters you love and torture them for several hundred pages." Yep.
My other two faithful readers, Gary and Jim, thoroughly approve of the change, but it will require a major revision of the first eight chapters, which I've already revised once. I'm going to go ahead and write the remaining seven chapters according to the new schema, and then go back and revise the whole thing.
Today I realized that to make the September 1 deadline for submitting the manuscript, I'll have to write four pages a day. That doesn't include the Alaska cruise, or a chunk of August when I want to take a class in Berkeley, but it's still a scary prospect, especially since I have to start now, in the thick of teaching.
I've been talking to my students about ritual as a way to get into writing space: tonight I devised my own pre-writing ritual, which involves a tape of ocean waves, a candle, a Tibetan singing bowl, a lucky beach rock I found on one of our San Francisco jaunts, and the smell of lavendar. Tonight, at least, it worked. I cranked out my four pages, although I don't know how good they are.
Wish me luck, please. We're talking about months of very consistent work here, a longer stretch than I've managed in the past; it will be an endurance event, and I'll need to keep up my strength, not to mention my faith in the abundance of narrative and my own story-telling ability.
I swam for an hour this afternoon, which I'm sure helped this evening's writing. I hope to walk tomorrow, weather permitting. Today's weather was ghastly, gloomy gray with unremitting snow flurries. But spring's coming, right?