Lessons I've learned during my revisionary quest (with thanks to Tamra Tuller)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

I would say that the lessons I've learned over the past year of writing my Florence novel are hard ones—except that I would rather not see them that way. Instead, I would like to categorize these generative discoveries as essential, thrilling, character building. As proof that every single book is like the first book written.

They are lessons about not letting Idea trump Story. About getting out of the way of one's own fascinations. About giving each draft room to breathe. About not letting shame—about a poorly written passage or a badly conceived moment—intrude upon the revisionary quest.

I have moved from mess toward clarity and then away from excess rigor. I have moved from tunneling perspective toward a slightly softening lens. I have mixed things up, set things straight, then made room for blur. I have moved from characters who did the work of the tale toward characters inevitably impelled. I have gone as far as I thought I could go, then gathered my wits about me and gone after it again—scouring out the boring places where nothing happens, the language that is too pretty because nothing happens, the conversations that don't need to be transcribed because they can be imagined and besides, inside them not much happens. I have righted the ship, which is to say, I have worked on balance.

And I am working on it still.

I wish to thank Miss Tamra Tuller, whose Twitter handle reads "Thumb Wrestler, Whiskey Drinker, and Children's Book Editor at Chronicle Books" for sticking by me along the way.


Serena said...

Sounds like some great progress is being made.

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