Novel successes and woes

I’ve been glued to my chair working on my novel for months: writing new scenes, converting dialogue into inner monologues, changing tense from present to past, creating new chapters where three asterisks indicated breaks in the text, and generally editing as I went through it over and over again. A little bit about my new scenes* process: I marked up my manuscript to indicate where (with page number) a new scene was needed and what the scene should consist of. I highlighted that marker in yellow. I then copied the marker and pasted it in a new document called New Scenes. I created the new scenes in the New Scenes document – without touching my original manuscript. When I finished creating the scenes I edited them several times to make them as mature as my original manuscript, already in its eighth draft. Then I merged the scenes into the manuscript, starting from the end of the book, so I wouldn’t mess with the page numbers And as I copied and pasted the ne … [Read more...]

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How my novel is progressing

I haven’t written about my work on my novel for quite some time. So, I thought I’d bring you up to date. Yes, you’re right. I’m still working on it after all these years – about seven at least. However, I think I’m finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, I'm working on draft number eight. A few months ago, I hired an editor to do an assessment critique, and after a thorough reading, he provided me with ten pages of single-spaced notes, with many rewriting assignments. Before I embarked on any of it I asked him to honestly tell me if I should put the book on a shelf and forget about it, or keep on working. He suggested I keep working, and that’s what I’m been doing. For the last several weeks I’ve been working steadily to accomplish the editor’s suggestions. And while I work on the novel, I totally ignore social media of every kind. That was hard at first, but it gets easier with time. The first thing I did was abide by the editor’s suggestion to change t … [Read more...]

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Revisiting John Updike

It’s a given that reading is just as important as writing or maybe even more so. I’m always reading something. In the last month I read the first two novels that John Updike wrote about Rabbit Angstrom (Rabbit, Run and Rabbit Redux). My intent is to read some well-known and well-regarded books written by people of my generation. Philip Roth is on my list as well. I have no doubt I can learn a thing or two about novel-writing from these books. I won’t get into a discussion of plot and characters here. I am more interested in Updike’s writing style. The books are long. I bought old paperback editions and the typeface is so tiny I could barely get through five to ten pages at a sitting. Recently new novelists have been told to vary the length of their chapters and sentences and paragraphs and use a lot a dialogue instead of long narratives. Updike consistently breaks those rules. The two books I read had long, long chapters, paragraphs and sentences and little dialogue. Howeve … [Read more...]

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