Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grant year, week 33: unscrambling the egg

This is a momentous day -- it marks the last of my official 'grant days'. I still owe the grant some time (from where I was on a grant day but then ended up having to look after sick kids etc), but in terms of actual grant money, it's all gone.

Do I regret taking three days a fortnight? Do I wish I could have a 'do over' and take a block of three months? Not really. I think the project gained something from having day-to-day stuff filtering into it. It took longer but I realised that although I thought I'd 'planned it out' the planning was only fairly superficial, and I needed that time to work through some of those issues.

And I still am working through some of those issues! The past fortnight I've been working on Skin Deep all day, every day (save for a few days where the kids were sick). At the start of the year, I wanted to have something structurally sound by this point. I'm not quite there, but over the past two weeks I've been working with the editor to resolve some structural issues, and I think that the book will be better for it.

At the moment it's... well, you know when you set to tidying study/junk room. One thing leads to another and you find yourself, in the middle of the day, with a room with all the cupboards empty. Piles of rubbish near the door. Stuff you want to keep but aren't sure where to put it in another pile. Books stacked up beside the bookcase in the rough order you want them. You know that eventually things are going to work out. You know pretty much exactly where you want everything to go. But in that moment, standing in the middle of the room that looks like a bomb has hit it, it's a little bit daunting.

That's where I am now.

I think that at the start of the fortnight I had a manuscript that was okay, structurally. But what I have now has the potential to be so much better. It's going to take me a bit of time to get there, but I'm confident I will get there.

I realise that this isn't the most efficient way of writing. But I've learnt lessons along the way and I've also learnt things about my book that I wouldn't have if I'd written it faster. There are happy accidents that occur when you decide to rip out a storyline, or merge two characters, or keep the core of a scene but change the setting. Ideas collide in ways you never would have thought of.

I'm still aiming to have something structurally sound by early October. Something that's worth sending to beta readers by early November at the latest.

Posted via email from garykemble's posterous

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