Sunday, May 28, 2006

So I Lied

At 5 a.m., I said it might be week before I looked at it. So of course, by 9 or so, I was reading the ending I wrote last night, and by noon, I was starting the damn thing from the beginning. Read it all the way through.

My initial thoughts: wow, it's messy. Lots of typos, even in sections I've gone over several times. LOTS of continuity errors, some because I changed my mind and had a better idea later (as is the case with a particular villain bit), some because I just forgot I'd already mentioned something earlier (e.g., the name of a minor character that changes without warning). A few talky digressions, but most of them aren't as bad as I feared. Several characters just drop off the map without warning, some of them major, and I need to make room for some kind of closure for them.

On the good side, I think it has a lot of promise. Some good dialogue, nice rhythms, interesting and unusual characters, some neat twists that aren't telegraphed too much, I don't think. I was kind of worried going in whether I would be able to create big enough action setpieces to make the story seem spectacular, but I think I outdid myself on that score. Not only that, but toward the end there, I even started to get in some emotional resonance, and even some genuflection toward a theme, which just freaking amazes me.

I'm really surprised by how much it depends on backstory, because that's usually one of my biggest weaknesses: characters who seem to exist almost exclusively in the now, never thinking about their pasts because they just don't have them. But like Tolkien, I've had some of these characters spinning in my head for as long as twenty-five years, so they have built up a history in my heart. Add that to the fact that the novel draws from all three Digger short stories and an aborted novel about one of the main villains (who was originally intended to be a hero, but then , all villains think they're the heroes of their own stories, don't they?), and you have quite a deep foundation to build on.

So overall, I think I wrote something that's going to take a LOT of work to clean up, but I think I managed to write something that will be worth the work it takes to clean up, if that makes any sense. So I'm generally pretty happy right now.

Saturday night is not partiable, so I'm looking at Tuesday, because I'm off the next day. Then again, I'm thinking about going to grab a beer right now, just because I'm basking in the afterglow.

What now?

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