I’m a pretty slow writer. I go over every paragraph multiple times before I move on to the next one. That has always worked pretty well for me, in the long run. One of my editors once told me that I submitted the cleanest manuscripts she had ever seen. By that she meant, it didn’t need much editing.
Generally I can say that I stop myself if I’m setting off in the wrong direction. At most a page in the light will go on, I’ll see I’ve made a wrong turn, and I can backtrack right there.
Book Six (which has a title now, but I’m too superstitious to tell you) has been a departure from the norm. Today I had to dump a whole chapter. A whole freakin chapter. Thirty pages. Anxiety wells up in my throat thinking about it. To be clear: by ‘dump’ I mean the chapter came out, but it didn’t go into that big trashbin in the sky. It went into my folder called BookSixBits. That is, pieces that don’t work where they originally showed up, but might fit somewhere else. At the very least I’ll be able to pull some good sentences out at some point in the future and use them.
So the dumped chapter is sitting there, a huge fat toad staring at me.
It’s an awful feeling, but it had to happen. There’s a kind of relief, too. I can start tomorrow morning from the spot where things started to go wrong, and hopefully things will move more smoothly.
She said hopefully.