Productive day, despite…

Productive day, despite four hours of computer-game playing. Lots of Kriti e-mail, and a great meeting with Professor Shailja Sharma at DePaul; I need to send her a proposal, and she'll take it to the English Department and the Humanities Center there; we may squeeze a bit of money out of them, which would be great. She's a postcolonialist specializing in S. Asian lit; I need to remember to have Michael send her a galley of BiM. You never know -- if she likes it, she might pick it up for a class. That would be so cool. It was also just a really nice conversation; I hope we get a chance to spend more time together, talking books and writing and all...

I also finally managed to finish the revision of Part III -- sent it out before I went to my meeting, and when I came back three hours later, Dawn's six pages of comments on it (including masses of line edits) were waiting for me. That's crit on 80,000 words, people. Enormously helpful.

Timing is tight enough that I don't think I get a day off before I start revising Part IV -- and anyway, I took yesterday off with my procrastination. So tomorrow, go through and fix the line edits, and then proceed onward to Part IV. One major thing Dawn pointed out is that while I added a sister for Gabriel, I still haven't done much with her; Leah needs to be a bigger part of the story, as do memories of his mother, I think. Also much faded memories of Shefali's mother. And possibly some memories of Shefali's ex-boyfriend. Not sure what role memory plays in this book, how it interacts with the present. Hmm...also not sure whether to try to work those into the earlier sections before proceeding onward to revising Part IV. Guess we'll find out tomorrow.

The thematic material is only just starting to emerge here. It's been strange, this drafting process. First draft, lay down the basic structure/plot. Figure out the main characters and their motivations partway through that. Second draft, try to make their characterization consistent through, go deeper into the complexities of their motivation, start figuring out the motivations of secondary and tertiary characters. Also start working on more evocative description.

I'm not sure what'll happen in the third draft, but at some point, I need to start really thinking about what my themes are, and then figuring out how to heighten/highlight them throughout, so that the book becomes not just an engrossing (hopefully) story, not just a complex (hopefully) character study, but also a meditation on how humans...well, do something. Not sure what yet. :-)

1 thought on “Productive day, despite…”

  1. That drafting process sounds very similar to what I’m doing with my fourth novel. Dunno whether I’ve not done it like that before, or whether I’ve just become more aware of exactly what it is I am doing.

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