1st rewrite approaches the finish line

Well, I’ve made it through all but the last two chapters of the first rewrite of my novel-in-progress, The Sleep of Reason. Along the way I’ve fixed a couple of structural problems, identified a couple more, and worked on the continuity of time and my protagonist’s evolving psychology.

I’ve mentioned here before that this story involves the repetition of certain “rituals” with slight variations each time. As a result, I had two significant conversations that appeared twice each in the first draft. In one case, I wasn’t sure where it worked best. In the second case, I simply forgot that I’d already put it in. Oops.

So I scrubbed those into better shape as well as pushed my way through three more chapters. I may be mistaken, but I seem to find the writing in these latter chapters to need less work than the middle chapters. (The first chapter was one I had from the short story origin of the work, so I’d been fooling with it for a decade.) I attribute this to understanding the character and the full import of the story better the farther I got into the story.

The remaining two chapters are where the real work lies. They carry the crisis and resolution, and the last chapter came in under a thousand words in the first draft. I may wind up combining it with the penultimate chapter. I also have to juggle some terrible realizations that the protagonist reaches, making sure they are logical and credible.

Once I have all of that done (this week?) I will go through it all again, this time adding seasonal and weather references (mostly just for texture, though I think it may further the plot in a couple of places) and cleaning up any lingering questions (does he have a TV in his room? would he know this now? what became of his sunglasses?).

Only then will I embark on the complete rewrite of the story with a third person narrator, which is required to tell the story behind the story.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Humble efforts, Sleep of Reason

One Comment on “1st rewrite approaches the finish line”

  1. Pete Says:

    Though I recently praised your decision to pursue some short story leads that had been nagging at you, I’m very glad that your work on the novel continues. I was about to warn you about spending too much time away from the novel – I’ve set aside both of my novels-in-progress for too long, and have had a lot of trouble getting back into them. But now I see that you don’t need that warning.


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