Not so long ago I came across this quote: “One of the virtues of being young is that you don’t let the facts get in the way of your imagination.” Sam Levenson. (The quote is the from The Pregnancy Journal – a wonderful book for those of you fellow bloggers who are pregnant – and there seem to be a few now!)
I was reading my draft, making notes, and thinking about the novel. This quote made me wonder if I could see the whole novel as it is, rather than how I think it is, and whether I could break away from its present state to make it more complete. Was my mind closed to all the possibilities this novel held? I hoped not, and tried to approach the novel with new eyes, seeing it as a stranger would, new to my world and people, not as someone already in love with it.
I identified many many things, but I will mention the few lag spots I found. Shorter sections that did nothing really to move the plot along. My novel has a lot of internal tension, but there needs to be some external tension – a driving force for this internal struggle and development. I began creating scenes and additions, consciously doing so. For me, a draft is written entirely by the subconscious. I trust it, and let it be. But, the editor has to be very conscious, and truthfully I don’t trust my conscious as much. Was I creating cliché scenes, straight from Hollywood? I wanted the scenes to be original, not so predictable, and I wondered if this was possible. At least, I thought, if they are predictable, let them have good cause.
In the end, I discussed the possible scenes with my family and friends, and judged their reactions. Some good, some bad, and knew what ideas to discard and which ones I could think about some more.
Last week was March break and a great week with the kids! I was surprised when I got back to work yesterday for a tiny wee bit at how much my subconscious had developed these scenes. They grew into their own meaning, and as I wrote three sections in, I saw how they had moved from being a cliché into their own. I have not been allowing myself any breaks in work, trying to get as much done as I can before the end of April. I was upset by the break in work (but not with the week with my kids), and it was such a gift to come back to it with these surprises. Sometimes the universe does give us what we need. (Anyone singing now? You can’t always get what you want….but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need….)
I look forward to catching up with all of you, and have a great writing week!