This is an update on how Hawk is coming along. The answer is: mostly all right, I think. I should qualify that (joke, Moshe).
The book took an interesting and fun twist while I was in Texas last month, and I like where it’s going. In brief, I’ve taken the first chunk of chapters and moved them to the back, leaving me to write up to them. This isn’t something I’m used to doing, which is a challenge. The way the book has decided to structure itself is also a bit weird, fun, and difficult. If I can pull this off, I’ll be pleased with it.
But the interesting thing is that I find myself writing a WHOLE LOT OF CRAP. I mean, I usually figure that, while I’m putting things together, there will be a lot that drops out in revisions; but never like this. The first draft of the first chapters contain an amazing amount of flab, and as I write, I keep reminding myself that, in the mental shed where I keep my writerly tools, there are delicate scalpels, jigsaws, a hammer, a set of screwdrivers, and, for situations like this there’s a scythe. I haven’t used it much, but it’s there. I know that once the first draft is done, there’s no reason not to haul it out and get to slashing. The point is to get to where the story comes together in a way I like; then I can go back and cut away everything that doesn’t look like an elephant. I’ve done that before; but this time it’s just amazing how much doesn’t look like an elephant.
For me, a great deal of writing revolves around tricking my brain into doing what I want it to do. That is, finding a way to let the hindbrain tell the forebrain what the story is that I’m actually writing. I have a lot of ways of tricking myself, but one that seems to consistently produce good results is just to keep going. Keep plowing on, even if I’m writing page after page of running in place. Eventually, there comes forward movement, and then eventually a nice shape and the snick of things coming together, and then I go back and make it look like I knew it all along.
But this time, there is just so much running in place that it’s freaking me out a little bit. I’m falling back on my cockiness, and reminding myself that I’ve done this before (like, 20-some times); I can do this, and it will come together. But in the meantime, it’s a little bit scary thinking of all the work that scythe will be doing; I mean, when I’m done, am I going to have a novel or a piece of flash fiction? But the big secret is, that “little bit scary” is kind of fun.