|The Shadow of the Past
||[Jan. 28th, 2004|10:19 pm]
I lugged along a print-out of the full-draft of the novel that has been haunting me for over a decade to Rhino's tonight, determined to read through it, identify what is salvageable and start in on considering what needs to be revised, what re-written and what invented from whole cloth.|
I managed to read maybe 40 out of the 300 double-spaced pages - maybe 10,000 words - cringing at every second line.
It's awful. Almost nothing is "salvageable". The prose is turgid when it isn't amateurishly ornate; the dialogue is mostly serviceable but pointless - it seldom impels the plot; and, of the plot, the first 10,000 words don't do much to hint that there is one to speak of.
I am still intrigued by the protagonist, and by the young girl she "adopts" as her daughter, still want to explore the lives of some of the supporting characters, still find that the basic idea - the story - is one I want to tell, but there is no longer any doubt in my mind: I must start over, must write it anew, if I am going to write it all.
There is a part of me that wants to give up on it entirely - didn't some famous writer famously give his first novel to the fire? But this is not my first novel; it is my third (and I shudder to think how bad those two must be), and I fear I must finish it before I will be able to write another.
Well. All right, then. Finish it I must.
1,000 words a day and I will have a complete ("first") draft - with luck, one that does not make me cringe - before spring has given way to summer.
It seems to me I have no choice, if I really am a writer and not just an ageing poser playing his part.
Don't you DARE.
Unless I get to read it first.
Dear god, no! The first one was awful (I'll never forget one night at a party, when I cornered my younger brother and his then-girlfriend, both whom had read it, and demanded to know what they thought - "Er, well ... no plot, one-dimensional characters," etc etc; and they were right), the second, I can't even remember ...
Hang on a minute.
I lied. The Valley of Shabathawan, the work in question is my second finished novel, not my third. There was a science fiction novel that I never finished, so it doesn't count.
Ahem: So much for fallible memory; and thank god for filing cabinets.
No, none of my novels have been published, nor should they have been. I have self-published a number of short stories in my former zine (and on my site), but nothing long.
Having slept since the last post, however, I am feeling better about the prospect of starting over more or less from scratch. At 1,000 words a day, in 90 days I could easily have a new, "first" draft completed.