Friday, November 21, 2008

On second thought

I was wrong. I can't take it. I'm a baby, and, hilarious as they are, Varian's consequences scared me away from my blog.

I'm half kidding.

A consequence is only serviceable if you're willing to follow through with it. And I'm not willing to inscribe anything about Sarah Palin and beef on my future book or my body. This picture is enough to make me gag. Let's not talk about tattoos.

If I committed to one of those consequences, I might start off motivated, but soon I'd be driven to distraction by the risk that, in spite of my best intentions, I could get stung by a wayward tsetse fly, fall down with sleeping sickness, and fail to meet my deadline. Instead of writing, I'd waste all my time imagining horror scenarios like the above and wind up sabotaging myself.

I wouldn't have a big moral problem with eating a slab of beef, but I also wouldn't be able to digest it, so, gross.

Here's the other thing. I don't have a clear sense of what it will mean to "complete" this draft. My book is currently around 118,000 words long, and there's also this giant folder named, "Extra," and I don't even want to think about what's in there. My book needs to get shorter and clearer, not longer.

I'm confident I'm not yet telling the middle of the story in any coherent way. So that's the goal -- to fill in the gaps, or to at least write the raw material that will lead me there.

Wednesday, I did a bunch of revision and a couple of heavily rewritten pages, getting the first 20 pages of my novel in shape to submit as my workshop piece for the upcoming residency. Thursday was a giant teaching day. Today, I did some hardcore revision and reordering and a little more than 700 new words. By that time I was pretty tired. A hundred of them might be worth keeping.

My real consequence is that I have until December 4 to submit my best work to my advisor, the last advisor I'll have before I'm meant to prepare my creative thesis in my final semester of school. I'm scared of failing this book. That's enough stress for me.

Currently reading: Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

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