Pencil work

I am pleased with my progress on my novel The Sleep of Reason. (The title, by the way, is a reference to Francisco de Goya’s famous etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters. This work will actually play a role late in the story.)

I believe I am at the halfway point of the story (though I’ve been mistaken in the past when I’ve thought this about other novels I have written). I am now taking a sort of pause as I retrace my steps and let the remainder of the story gel in my mind. I’m giving a careful re-reading of the chapters I have written thus far, tweaking and tuning as I go, attempting to sustain a consistent tone and diction across the pages as well as fortify the various plot points and foreshadowing that are needed for the rest of the work.

I think this is sometimes referred to as “pencil work,” and I think many writers use that term disdainfully, as though such effort is not actually creative and is more an effort to feel busy when the words won’t come. I won’t waste any time debating this with myself. As I said, I feel good about this story and where it is going, and I don’t think the words won’t come. My new method of crafting a synopsis of each chapter before I begin writing has proven useful and I continue to use it, especially now that I embark on this second half of the story.

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