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Thursday, July 06, 2006

EDITING: SLASH AND BURN!

"I might write four lines or I might write twenty.
I subtract and I add until I really hit something.
You don't always whittle down, sometimes you whittle up."
Grace Paley

Editing. Add/subtract. Cut & paste. Revise. Rewrite. Slash and burn!
That's what I've been doing all this week. Now the visitors have left (my young German friend Patrick was here for 3 weeks) and the mini vacation over (you can read about it on my travel blog: http://travelthroughhistory.blogspot.com ) I've committed myself to a summer of writing. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? But really, writing can be such hard work! Perhaps the most difficult part is staying disciplined. So far I've managed to stick to my schedule.
I write in the daytime because at night I have two writer's workshops here with people from my Spring night-school classes. I also intended to take Spanish classes twice a week but the class was full. And today, Thursday morning, I have my summer "Write in the Park" memoir group which looks like it's going to be quite successful and well-attended.

So when do I write? Usually in the morning, allowing myself some leisure time to enjoy what has been some exceptionally warm weather luring me to the beach. I've also had to spare some time this week because my son underwent emergency surgery for a bowel infection so that sent us all for a loop. Freaky and unexpected but it looks like it'll be okay now.

I've managed to spend several hours every day not only on my novel but other writing related things like marketing and preps for my workshops. So far this week I've mostly been retyping passages of the novel into the computer. (When I first started writing it I was using a word-processor which unfortunately wasn't compatible with the computer so I've had to retype the whole first part of the novel. I've still got a bit to do but only work on this when I'm in between the actually writing/editing. It helps me get centred in the story again and I edit as I go along, also marking the passages (lots!) that can be slashed and omitted in the final draft.

Now I'm down to editing the most recent passages before I plunge into the new work. But I've having a hard time getting 'inspired'. I need to talk it out with someone who's familiar with the history and story. I long for those days I lived in Greece and had friends who loved to sit around the taverna chatting about my novel and the characters in it. I wish I was in Greece right now! But I'll just have to do the best I can to get myself stimulated and inspired as I really want to finish this monumental piece of work. However, I'm feeling mired down and discouraged at the moment. I guess it's a matter of serious discipline and focusing all my attention on what has to be done. Having my son's life in a percarious situation earlier this week didn't help my concentration. The hot sun beckoning me outdoors didn't either. But now it's cooled off. I think Steve will be alright. And Shadow of the Lion awaits!

"The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shock-proof, shit detector. This is the writer's radar and all great writers have had it."
Ernest Hemingway 1899-1961 "Interview in Paris Review" Spring 1958

2 comments:

Debra Young said...

Just take it one page at a time, Wynn. Don't worry. Your writing will pick up and move along. d:)

Wynn Bexton said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I did manage to do some rewrites yesterday which were necessary to tie in with the next chapter. I'm still not 'feeling' it though and trying to figure out the best way to get myself inspired. Maybe I should read Steven Pressfield's 'The Virtues of War" again??? Or browse through Mary Renault for the zillionth time!