So, here we are. One day before the start of a new direction. I wonder what the next four years will bring?
Me, I've seen very little of the fanfare ushering in the start of Obama's presidency. It's not that I'm not interested...because of course I am...but other than Sunday mornings, usually, week-ends are typically a politics-free zone, for me. It's usually more about kids and Corb and retail stores and eating good/bad meals, more than anything else. Corb and I spent most of this week-end gobbling up the first seasons of Nip/Tuck and Little Britain.
And Sunday mornings, like most morning since November, have been about one thing: revising the manuscript. And this morning, thanks to Martin Luther King day, I was finally able to finish my review of all the changes I made to The Late Night Show , which of course necessitated more changes.
The book is now about twenty-five pages longer, weighing in at 360 double-spaced pages. I've really focused on taking the advice of the editor to heart, and made my narrator less of an adult, more of a 17-year-old girl, made the secondary characters more distinctive, and the ending a bit grittier. I've gone through the pages, scribbled notes everywhere, discovered plot inconsistencies that made me want to slam my fist up against my head. "How could I possibly have given Kami sweatpants on page 140 when I clearly had her in jeans, earlier?" "How could this happen on a Tuesday when it should be on a Thursday?"
I've created timelines, calendars, character lists. I've created lists of music for my characters to listen to, asked my 15-year-old to write down her favorite dumb blond jokes, had the bits of Spanish dialog of one of the characters reviewed by someone actually from Puerto Rico. I've had Josie and Ashes act out the climactic struggle at the end of the book, to see if it made sense, and also, as Theo pointed out, make sure it didn't end like every other TV show cliche he's seen. Most of all, I've reread, reread, reread, and re-worked, fiddled, shuffled around, and hopefully, tightened the copy.
Now, it's time to move on to the next phase. Sharing the manuscript with those who have never seen it before, who have not been tortured these past few years with what ifs and what-about-this? Sharing the manuscript with a few people in the age range it's intended for.
How do I feel? It depends on the day. Reading through the material, there have been times I'd end a chapter and think, "This is great!" And then, just a few hours later, I'd read something and think that it's utter rubbish. Far too detailed. Or, not detailed enough. Or, clunky. Or, superficial. What was I thinking? How can I make it better? Or, even more troubling, am I making it worse?
I've been superstitious, too. Don't read emails before you start working, it'll get you focused on other things. Don't read while the kids are around, you'll get too distracted. Don't think about directing 42nd Street at all, because that'll diffuse your energy.
Noise has been an issue, an enemy of focus. Corb's TV is too loud, the kids are fighting, Theo's X-Box is far too distracting. But silence is an enemy of focus, too. Too much silence and you start to get drowsy. Can't have that. The best place to edit has actually been at work, during lunch hour, with the mind alert and already directed toward writing.
Reading has been impossible. Stacks of New Yorkers are piled up by the side of my bed. No time to read, no time to read. No time to journal either, how can I think of writing about my life when I've got something else to focus on? And yet, such a distraction is necessary, even if I couldn't possibly go into any great depth or detail. That would be far to much of an extravagance.
So, now, here where are. A milestone, but not really much of a milestone. Just another next step. There's still more work to be done.
And in the end, is it any better? Did the changes help? Of course, I think they did. How could anyone who's spent hours reshaping something thing otherwise? Still, there's that nagging thought, was it worth it? Will it get me to where I need to be?