The home stretch


Sometimes, fairly often in fact, blogging competes with other writing. This is never more true than when on the home stretch in writing a novel. If you write x number of words a day, if that is how many you can realistically produce while maintaining what passes for quality in the literary world, then writing a blog of a few hundred words (call it y) takes away time an energy from the novel. In fact, it means that the work on the novel is precisely x-y words for the day, for you mathematically inclined folks.

But it is more than that. It is the time that my brain leaves that world and comes here, as well.

For me, the home stretch of a novel comes toward the end of the first draft. The story has really come together for me. I know the storylines and subplots actually fit together in the time and space I have created, and it is a matter of focusing on fleshing out scenes that were simply sketched out earlier, making sure that the characters are acting out of their own motivations and experiences, rather than my preconceived ideas (which are necessary in the beginning and a burden at the end), that the story actually flows and provides a congruent story for the reader. These things I owe the reader, but owe myself as well. And that takes effort. And time.

In the home stretch words tend to flow more easily, because so much is now known. But it requires juggling many more variables to ensure a good book at the end.

I am in the home stretch on a new book now, and preoccupied with its world. So I have blogged less. I read somewhere that writing about writing is not the best way to attract readers, but for now, it is all that I know. It consumes my day. Little exists for me but the book, so to blog now means either writing about the writing, or writing about the story. But I am not inclined to tell the story in some other context and risk diffusing it. It is a new, and exciting, story world for me and I want all that excitement to come through in the book.

So this blog, my blogging effort is the thing that has to give.

It will be some time before I can focus on other things, such as blogging. After the home stretch comes revision, rewriting, triage. All necessary components for the book to become all it can be, but even naming those stages is a distraction from the here and now. So I will take the advice of Aldous Huxley in Island and get back to my real work. “Here and now boys, here and now.”

 

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