I am pleased to report that I have finished the revision of chapter one.
It seems like an easy goal, since I have finished writing the whole novel, and so I know the story, and all I am really doing is making sure that the words on the page are the correct ones. However, it was giving me fits. Part of it is the difficulty in moving on with a pursuit that seems to me to smack of fruitlessness. There are times when I just don’t feel like my story can compete in the world of megapublishing.
Yesterday was my father’s birthday, (as well as Back to the Future day-kind of funny, since that deals with time travel just like this novel–I wonder how many of these themes came to me as a teenager, watching movies like Back to the Future and Star Wars, which is also coming out with a new movie . . .) I talked to him for a while, mostly about Bidge, a friend of his sister’s. Actually, they were all friends in high school and now Bidge has self-published a book about his high school days, which my father read. I also found out that Dad is involved in a reading group at a retirement home in Portland. He gets around. The fact that it is a retirement home makes me think that he is aware of his increasing age, but I’m sure he’s also using it as a social outlet, and to be around the ladies, the sly fellow. Anyhow, Bidge wrote a book, much like me, and wanted to publish it, and so he did, with Lulu, but my father’s question was would anyone who wasn’t familiar with 1958 in Harrisburg PA want to read it? And the answer is, I don’t know. So what makes me think someone will want to read my scribbles?
Here’s what: I love my high concept idea–that roads are untouchable, barriers rather than means of travel. I love my characters. I love my story. That’s why. So I have to keep working on it, making it better. How did I finish chapter one, that just seemed to be growing and getting more and more complicated? Simple. I cut it in two. Now chapter one is just Riika and Heli leaving the tombs to cross the road with their divination skills. I’ll get into the finding of the sporting goods shop in Torijk and Heli’s tragedy with the rifle in chapter two.
It was that easy, and sometimes it’s just finding the way to go forward. I was so keyed in on reducing the amount of words that I couldn’t finish. Now I realize that telling more of the story is okay–it’s not how many pages it is, it’s how good they are. Since this is a young adult book, I really want shorter chapters, not longer ones, and now it seems like the skies have cleared and the way forward has opened. I just had to wait around and work at it until I could see it.