I have reached the second act of Lawful Evil, some 115 pages of edited work and have lost roughly 10% of the first draft along the way. The beauty of an exploratory draft is that you just play on the page, go on tangents and empty yourself of every idea in relation to the idea itself. With this project, there was the first conscious use of the story grid, and I am pleased to find that it has added utility in determining where the obligatory scenes should go and what needs to be discarded.
To quote Bruce Lee, you use what is necessary and discard the rest.
Experience and focused practice has allowed for less bloat in the exploratory draft so editing later is both easier and more difficult in that there are scenes that read well, but don’t serve the story. The second draft is leaner, it moves faster and the underlying emotions and themes become apparent on the page. It is a matter of confidence to trust that the reader gets it, and to allow for such information as to avoid being too ambiguous, to parse exposition to use as ammunition rather than having it dropped like a stone because it is too heavy and awkward to break down. I would not say I possess any special aptitude beyond an ability to focus and do the work necessary to advance my work.
Until She Sings is with several agents at the moment. I cannot agonise over its status, so I concentrate on the things I can control, which is the work. Say prayers and send blessings for its success.
I have several future projects in various stages. Strange Lights is sat in longhand, exploratory draft waiting for me to go in and build it up to a second draft. Another project has been fitted into a story grid, there are the serials Sir 2.0, Asra and A Bridge For The Furies ongoing here as well as the poetry. I am also putting notes towards two other projects and looking ahead.
I am reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry which is lengthy, exquisite and moving. It is a hymn to the American dream, awash with struggle, beauty and horror and all of it dressed in elegant, beautiful language. After that, I will be reading The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas then rereading The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. I try to absorb the good work, not necessarily in one genre and guided by an unconscious instinct for the stuff that will inspire and educate me.
There is a joy in the process, it sustains me no matter what my circumstances and serves as an expression of my solidity. I am not calcified in that, simply that I have a course, a path and I follow it by determination, a willingness to change up without losing sight of the prize.
The man I look at in the mirror each morning.
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