Going back and reading sections of your novel you wrote months, perhaps years, before is a bit like going through old diary entries and saying, “Shit, did I write that?“Â Yesterday I began my day by heading over to the local coffee shop called Molah when I discovered the place was mobbed with yapping people and screaming babies and snarling dogs and well, there just wasn’t any place for me to sit.Â So I hobbled over to the Frozen Monkey which could be a really cool place if it didn’t try so hard.Â You know the type of place: chock full of green vinyl couches built so low your knees have to extend directly out to be comfortable; lamps stolen from the Brady Bunch set; kitschy art on the wall that any child with a digital camera and a simple photoshop filter could create (plus, the smegheads charge for internet access 🙁 )Â To their credit though they were playing Pearl Jam’s “Lost Dogs” and Radiohead’s “Kid A.”Â Not exactly “independent” music, but cool nonetheless.
I bought a coffee, found a seat, plugged my laptop in and began writing.Â I came across a comment in my novel.Â “This is too fast.Â Elaborate this scene.”Â My heart began thumping and it wasn’t because of the coffee.Â Since November, I had not really been writing.Â I had been editing my novel.Â I wasn’t adding new scenes or being overly creative, with the exception of perhaps variations and adjustments in sentence structure.Â But now I was forced to redo an entire scene.
I read what I had before.Â It was classic “telling,” that is, I described exactly what happened in a boring infodump.Â When I first wrote the scene some months before, I had needed to get from point A to point B.Â I didn’t want to bother with the in-between.Â But the section now felt rushed and hasty and incongruous with the rest of the novel’s pacing.Â I realized with some delight that I could really go to town, that is, I could create an entirely new and full setting because this scene was far from the usual events of the novel.
Two hours passed and I wrote a paragraph.
A man I know only from my frequent visits to Molah came into the Frozen Monkey said hello and told me they’d thinned out over there.Â We chatted for a few minutes and then I waddled back to Molah, bought another coffee and started again.Â Hours passed.Â It was 4:30.Â I had been writing for four hours.Â I suddenly looked up and noticed I had reached point B, and I had done it (modesty mode off) magnificently.
Why is this important?Â Well, with a few exceptions, the past two years of my writing life have been spent on one thing: my novel.Â So many ideas for short stories have popped into my head, but No, I said.Â Finish the novel first.Â You can write those later.Â Yesterday’s little creative burst, its tiny window was a taste of what’s to come.Â I savored it.
I have about 89 pages left to edit.Â Then another smaller rewrite of about 10 pages near the beginning.Â After that, I’m done.Â Needless to say, I can’t wait for that moment.