Ouroboros

My work on this continues, though not at the freakish and unsustainable pace of earlier. I think I wrote about 4,000 words last weekend rather than the 14,000 of the weekend before. Even so, that’s an astonishing pace for me.

I’m lucky to know exactly where the plot is leading. This has been the biggest influence on my writing pace, along with iced tea, unsweetened, of course, and a willingness to sit down at any time of the day to add “just one little thing” and find myself done about an hour later.

I have only one more chapter to write, and a little coda after that, and then the first draft is done. I’m at nearly 38,000 words, and I’m confident I’ll break through the 40,000-word barrier, which is what many consider the absolute minimum definition of a novel. But as I’ve said, if it were considered a novella, that would tie in nicely with what’s going on in the story.

Of course, it’s all garbage. Since it’s so short, I’ve been able to read through it completely several times, and I am keenly aware of its shortcomings, its clumsy writing, its underdeveloped characters, its structural contradictions, its naivete. But admitting you have a problem, as they say.

Part of my trouble is that the subtext and underlying themes and ancillary plots and whatever are continually evolving in my head. What seemed brilliant at first soon seems amateurish, but then it gets rescued by this tweak or that new character or this obscure literary reference or that clever tie back to the theme. This is happening to me constantly with this story. I reach an impasse and walk away from it, and an hour later I have a solution or a new avenue to go down.

Most recently I had a revelation for a new character, one who guides and goads another character (who needs it, believe me). I half knew there was a weakness in this part of the story, and then I realized I should add this new character to address it, and then as fast as I could write the idea down on my ever-present notepad, it blossomed further in my head in a way that supports and deepens the plot.

So I’m confident that when I finish the first draft of the thing, I’ll be able to go over it once again and muscle it into acceptable shape.

And, oddly, it’s making me think about my next big project, which also involves an early short story idea — far older than the one that inspired Ouroboros — that I can develop into a novel (or novella?).

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Have you ever read any of the Thursday Next novels by Jasper Fforde? What do you think of them?

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