Posted tagged ‘manuscript writing’

Novel Update–Hi All!–Criss-crossed Tracks

February 23, 2014

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Hi all!

An update from novel land (that is, the Great Mo-heavy Desert of the not-quite-finished manuscript.)

Agh.

I am, at least, in the clean-up process.  I’ve fixed, as well as I can, the weak beginning–that is, I’ve brought in, at an earlier point, threads that are important to the story and its context (1968) that I hope will make the beginning more compelling.  Also reduced the “ick factor.”

Shortened the end–the last bits had dragged on endlessly.

Given up the idea of major structural revision, i.e. let go of aiming for a scintilla of momentum.

Now, I’m stuck in almost random, despairing, desultory, always looking for distraction, copyediting.  (Also trying to weed out extra words–all those, oh’s, wells, so’s, that people actually use in speech but that weigh down dialogue.)

This involves, among other things, some application of the rules of comma usage.  (Yes, I know a lot of people don’t bother with comma usage in poetry for all kinds of artistic reasons, but this is not that poetic a novel.)

Which means I have to remember the rules of comma usage.  (God forbid I would just look them up.)

Comma usage makes one (if one is me) acutely conscious of the seep, like that weird maroon or yellow liquid that sometimes leaks out from under a refrigerator,  of dementia.

As in, comma usage seems to be one of the first things to have totally gone.

Perhaps this is because I never truly had comma usage under my belt.  Unlike certain parts of the multiplication tables, which I drilled enough to be able to spit out in my sleep.   (Unfortunately, I have not been able to fit six times six anywhere into my text.)

When it comes to comma usage the whole thing feels more like, let’s say– eight times seven— a multiple I always had a hard time with, or fourteen times four, which is one I never even tried to learn–this is all quite remarkable because when I do fixate on those multiples I end up with–.

But let’s not go there.

Anyway, I thank you all so much for your encouragement.

PS — the despair also comes from the fact that one gets so bored, tired, can never be pleased, finds so much awkwardness,  whole damn passages that can’t even be fixed by corrected commas!

Also, if you can’t remember or never knew the rules of comma usage, you keep changing them in your mind–does that mean you have to go back and change what you’ve already finished?

PPS – (Can’t stand to look at it any more; must go through it one more time.)

(Oh come on, shouldn’t you just scrap the whole thing!?)

(Maybe you should just scrap the whole thing?)

(Oh stop it!)

(Should there be commas before those ‘ohs?’)

(Agh.)

(Hey, shouldn’t that be ‘ugh?’)

(But I like ‘agh–’)

(she says, in anguish.)

Photo above is of two different kinds of animal tracks crossing in snow.  As always, click on it if you can’t see it all–also all rights reserved.