prep time for the rewrite
Hello! Thank you for all the delighted hoorays I’m sure you mentally sent my way when you read the last newsletter. I appreciate them.
I’m feeling a little lost now. After that last week of absolutely smashing through the final three chapters, I am suddenly at loose ends, because as I mentioned, I can’t just dive back in to the rewrite yet. There are still lots of things to do, both novel-related and in life, so I’m not bored, but I do miss writing.
I have the manuscript printed out beside me here. It feels more real to have it physically in hand. I also have my notebook for scribbling in, and the dedicated grid notebook I got for my reference guide. That’s what I’m currently working on – maps, details, backstory, timelines, character profiles, etc. There are lots of details that aren’t going to be in the text because the protagonist is 11 and she doesn’t actually need to know the chain of command or how the organization that hired her mom is structured. She’s not aware of how the demographics are broken down for the people on the spaceship, but it is giving me fits right now. She’ll probably get bits of her mom’s backstory, but most of it is stuff that a mother wouldn’t share with her kid because it’s painful and she doesn’t need to know.
Also, yeah, you can see my first paragraph there, but it’ll probably be rewritten a bunch of times. Don’t steal my ship name; I’m very pleased with it. It’s named after a Tusi couple. I’ve done a lot of fun reading about the history of astronomy, particularly outside of Tycho Brahe, Copernicus, Ptolemy, etc. The Persian, Indian, and Arabic influences on astronomy are really interesting. There is a lot of Greek influence on the way history is recorded and described – in science, mythology, philosophy, religion, etc – and I’m interested in what else is there. I don’t feel like it’s a stretch to assume that, for example, the Crusades had one heck of an influence on removing/minimizing the influence of the Islamic Golden Age in subsequent European scientific developments. So I’m trying to broaden my horizons – less naming ships after Greek mythological figures and more the astrological/mathematical figures and models from Persia, India, China, etc. It’s a fun and informative rabbit hole.
I’ve also dipped my toe into reading the manuscript, since either next week or the week following I will be ready to start the rewrite. And unfortunately, even though I felt good about it when I finished the first draft, it is terrible. And so am I. (This is a normal part of the writing process, don’t worry.) It’s helpful for me to remember that neither of the extremes are true – it’s not amazing, and it’s not terrible. It’s just a bunch of words pointing towards the story I want to tell, and I know it’s not awesome because it’s not done yet, and it’s not terrible because I’m so excited about it. My brain loves to dive to the extremes, which is very normal, and the extremes are not helpful at all. I’ve written and edited two novels so I know this next part is really hard. It’s really important. It will take longer than I expect. I’ll be pleasantly surprised by parts of it, and those will probably be the parts that just flew out of my fingers. I will fix a sentence to use a phrase or adjective and then realize I used that exact wording in the next sentence. It’s a funny quirk of the editing process.
So it’s hard work time, unlike what I’ve done so far. It’s tricky to try to sink into the edits in summer but I can probably find a rhythm once we’ve sorted out our summer routine. That always takes two weeks. The kids will continue to be my best cheerleaders, though, because of course they believe that if I write a book it will instantly be a bestseller, and their confidence is nice to draw on, since I absolutely do not share it. Also, they very badly want to read it, since it’s for middle grades and they’re in the middle grades, and I’ve told them that they can read it after the edits. I definitely recommend having children to encourage one’s writing practice.
Currently reading: I just read this essay by Amber Sparks, and it puts into words how I feel about Zelda/video games and writing.
I also just finished The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin. I loved the Broken Earth trilogy, but this one didn’t really land for me. I couldn’t connect to the characters because they were avatars, and I also don’t enjoy love letters to NYC. The concept was so interesting that it’s a bigger disappointment than just “hmm, not for me.” But that’s okay.
Currently listening: Wolf by Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s so good.
Currently eating: smoothies. It’s hot and I don’t want to cook or even chew. I buy gigantic aggressive tubs of unflavoured protein powder for them because protein is the fastest, easiest, most accessible way to take the edge off all my various mental and physical ailments, and yet I forget this all the time. But protein! Magic bullet. Amazing. (Carbs are still king, though.)