The Sense of an Ending

I have been neglecting this blog, but I have definitely not been idle. Several geologic ages seem to have passed since I wrote my review of “Ivanhoe.” I have discovered several surprising new things about characters I thought I knew well. Among them, not to give away any plot spoilers, is that Liam can sing and that Rachel had had a long affair with a (supposedly happily) married man before joining the time travel project. Are these facts important? I think so.

I have also rewritten the sex scene, god help me. I think it’s much better — yet I thought it was good the first time, and now reading that version makes me cringe. Should a work titled “The Jane Austen Project” even need a sex scene? I leave that to others to determine, though at this moment I think it does.

But then I have also concluded that Chapter 1, which until fairly recently to me was a thing of beauty, is turgid, flabby and bristling with what are now complete red herrings (since my vision of what the end will be is so altered, it is pointing in all the wrong directions). It must either be thrown out entirely (so the work starts with what is now Chapter 2, Arrival, and manages to work in needed background in the course of moving the action forward) or completely rewritten (in a form I am not yet sure of). Very mixed feelings about this. Sad about the time I wasted rewriting it, of course. Happy with the prospect of what I now think will be a better story. But most of all, disconcerted by how much my own view of what the story needs and what is working can shift. If I was so wrong about Chapter 1, what else am I wrong about?

I am nearly up to 400 pages again, and the last 150 are probably 75 percent completely new material. But I am still not to the end, though it is in sight. I can’t believe other people can possibly write this inefficiently.

Music to write by: I have regained my youthful obsession with The Goldberg Variations as performed by Glenn Gould. I am secretly convinced that listening to it makes me smarter. I can listen to it over and over writing and never weary of it.

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