Writing Update or How I ended up looking like Mrs. Lovett

MRS. LOVETT: (from the song: The Worst Pie’s in London- Sweeney Todd)

What’s your rush? What’s your hurry?
You gave me such a —
Fright, I thought you was a ghost!
Half a minute, can’tcher sit!
Sit you down, sit!
All I meant is that I haven’t seen a customer for weeks!
Did you come here for a pie, sir?
Do forgive me if me head’s a little vague —
Ugh! What is that?”

Vague head?  After this weekend, I was wondering where my head went. I can’t be certain, but I think it was lost somewhere between Chapter 8 and Chapter 10 of my novel.

I put everything else aside to focus solely on my novel this weekend.   While I did remember to water my plants, it was a rare time I was actually thankful not to own any dogs.  First, I had to see again how to enlarge my work from novella to novel.  It was still coming up too short.  Naturally, I couldn’t add filler.  But reading over my current draft, I discovered it seemed rushed at times.  So, where would it be best to slow down?  Lengthen, and thus, heighten the suspense?  Where and how could I deepen my characters?  I spent all Friday tackling these questions and more.  By  2. a.m. I’d added five chapters to my outline.

Saturday was spent editing (actually re-re-re-re-re-editing) Chapters One and Two.  Revising Chapter 3.  Totally rewriting Chapter 4 and 5 (because I totally despised them)  And yes, I know many advise never to go back and edit previous chapters until you’ve reached the end of a current draft.  But they haunt me.  They truly haunt me…

So, on Sunday I revised chapter 6 through 8.  Rewrote Chapters 9 and 10 from scratch because the old versions simply didn’t fit any more.

By the time I crawled into bed, I did indeed look quite like  darling Mrs. Lovett (minus her horrid pies and


Truth be told, her hair is quite neat compared to what mine looked like….

Anyhow, I went to bed Sunday night totally exhausted.  And totally exhilerated.  There’s no way I can keep that pace up without going more cuckoo than I already am.  But, the exercise was very freeing.

I awoke this morning and worked easily on Chapter 11 before going off to work.   (Never fear- I did find my hairbrush)

Published in: on September 15, 2008 at 5:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hooray!

    Good for you, happy dancing for you on your draft! : ) (But not really “on” it, lol!)

    I soooooo know what you mean — sometime’s there’s a pace the writing takes on and you almost want to keep going with it, ride it out, but if you did, it would lead to mental exhaustion — or, as it does for me, my eyes getting blurry and exhausted from all the reading, to the point that I *have* to stop, and slow down.

    It always makes me think of Truman Capote, who once remarked that In Cold Blood, the writing, had almost killed him. I knew exactly what he was referencing, after writing my own novel.

    But, it’s wonderful. So is the feeling of having a finished novel in your hands, even *before* all the drafts are done.

    Just wanted to make a very big deal over what is a VERY big deal — your novel!

    I hope you celebrated — did you celebrate? Around here, a finished novel is worth a homemade (from the box, lol) chocolate layer cake.

    Em : )

  2. Hi Em!
    Oh, you can happy dance all you want over my draft. I can print out another copy. 🙂

    Yes, the pace. That does seem to be the catch-22 with me. Although I am trying to do a little work everyday (or at least most days)- I have discovered that I do my best work when I go for long marathon sessions. That’s when I enter that glorious flow state we talked about before. How I love weekends for that! 🙂 But yes, the catch is definitely the mental exhaustion. It never hits me until afterward. But I figure it’s worth it.

    I must admit I didn’t celebrate. I think I was too tired. Mostly I feel a sense of peace that this draft was completed and now I see the ways to fix it. Ah…the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I hope to have the final draft ready for beta readers by the end of October. Then I will definitely celebrate!!

    And thank you for your enthusiasm over my finishing the draft. It’s catching! 🙂

    I’ll be visiting your blog Sunday night or Monday morning. I can’t wait to see your new posts.

    all the best,

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