Furlough 60: Hearing Voices

Today was a productive day of writing. I got through about half my rough draft.

It’s funny when you read through a rough draft a month after you’ve looked it over. There are a lot of different parts to it, a lot of different voices all talking to you at once.

It’s a big ball of Christmas lights, wires woven and tied in knots, and to get it all worked out, you have to be delicate and you have to be patient. This is not just the second draft, this is writing a novel all the way through.

But a lot of what a rough draft is, that I’ve seen over the years, is you struggling to find the true voice among all the different voices you’d written.

There’s the voice of you trying to figure out the main character and other characters. There’s the voice of the story speaking as a nebulous, young thing, so fragile and full of life. There’s the voice of structure mumbling from the back of your mind as you’re trying to figure out what all this is. There is the voice of your child self creating as he goes without a care in the world of what this all means.

All of these voices as you’re reading through the rough draft with a critical eye for the next step. It can be very disheartening.

Experience is the best teacher. Earlier drafts of earlier novels that I had written, it was always this point in the editing that I dreaded. I went back to what I thought was so perfect and so good and it was just a glob of shit. Ingmar Bergman talked about this phase in making films. He said something very much like this, that you have a big mess that you have to wade through and clean up. It’s always going to be a mess.

It’s a slow process. But what I found out is that there was something of the kernel of an idea that is still with me even now, and as I work throughout this second draft, I’ll stay true to that kernel and help her to grow.

I’m on my way.

Hope you have a safe and healthy day!

Create and complete!

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