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Progress

Posted on December 16th, 2010 by annakjarzab

I don’t remember the last time I talked in depth about what’s going on in the writing realm of my life these days, and I’m too lazy to go through the archives to figure it out, so let’s just say it’s been a while? This does not mean, however, that I haven’t been working! In August/September/October, I was busy writing The Opposite of Hallelujah, or rather rewriting it, and then rewriting it again, since I wrote most of the novel last fall while I was waiting on editorial feedback on The Disasterscript Of Which We No Longer Speak. Was that dramatic enough for you? I might be having a dramatic writer day.

Anyway! I got notes from Joanna and Danielle a week ago or so on OoH (or, as we’re calling it in our emails, Hallelujah, because “Ooh!” is sort of a weird acronym), and I plan to really dive into them this weekend, once all the holiday partying and dining and gift buying is over and I have time to really think about how I’m going to dive into this revision. Thankfully, J & D were very positive about this manuscript, and think that all it needs is some fine tuning, mostly having to do with deepening some characters and adding crucial details to the back story. I also have this annoying habit of preferring to let dialogue stand on its own without too much explication from the character about what they’re saying, which I actually do think is important, sometimes, letting the reader interpret things as they will. But my editorial notes usually have a bit about providing more explication for certain things that are said, which I also think is important, but which I nearly always have to go back and add in later. It’s a tic of mine, writing straight dialogue. Maybe I should look into a sideline in script writing/play writing. Just kidding! I don’t need more jobs.

In a way, this is good news; it means the plot is solid and so is the writing, which I think is the main challenge for a lot of writers, and can be a big challenge for me, too. I was lucky in that the plot for this book fell together quite easily in comparison to books that have come before it, and books that are threatening to come after it, all of which were/are huge messy disasterscripts that gave/give me nightmares. But this one emerged pretty organically, which I totally appreciate! But deepening can be it’s own kind of difficult. It’s not just about adding more detail, it’s about adding the right amount and kind of detail to make a character really sing. J & D gave me a great place to start, and more than once I was like, “That’s such a great idea, I never thought of that!” I’m excited to write those parts. But there are parts on which I disagree about certain things, or not absolutely disagree but am not finding the solution to the problem to be particularly easy, and am having a real block. I keep turning little things over in my mind and thinking, how can I do this so that it works for everybody, including myself? In this way, you can agonize over a single scene or paragraph or line of dialogue or sentence or word, even, for days. Fine tuning can sometimes be a lot more work than reworking a narrative, if only because the changes are “smaller” so it’s easier to obsess over them.

Which is why I’m glad I have so much time ahead of me in California to just work. I love going to Chicago for Christmas, and I’m sad not to be doing that this year, but also when I’m Chicago I have a lot of stuff to do, lots of family and friends to visit, lots of activities. In California, I only have a few friends I keep in touch with, like Shannel, who reads this blog (p.s. I’m really excited to see you over the holidays)! And I have no family outside of my immediate family. As you know, all of my hometown close friends all live in New York, so I see them a lot as it is and anyways only Kim is going to be home for Christmas. So there’ll be a lot more breathing room. I actually can spend days hunkered down in my room, or at the kitchen table, with a red pen and a can of Diet Coke, and work diligently without distraction or feeling cramped and crowded, as I usually do in my own apartment.

I’m really looking forward to revising Hallelujah, actually. I do love this book a lot and I’m proud of the way it came together. I can’t wait to tell you guys more about it (like, um, what it’s about), but for some reason I’m becoming more and more superstitious in my old age and I don’t want to say anything about it until my editor gives it the thumbs up. So hopefully that will happen in January and then I can post some kind of synopsis!

1 Response to “Progress”

BethDazzled on December 23rd, 2010 at 10:22 pm Said:

I am beyond superstitious when it comes to anything writing so I totally understand. Book Karma has become my mantra. I’m sorta terrified of my karma, but that’s a whole other story…

Congrats on all the progress!

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