Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bodies of Water

Today is a strange day. For the last few months I have been getting up early every single morning and laboring over the revision of my newest novel, and tomorrow I won't have to. I sent my "finished" draft off to my editor this morning.

This novel, Bodies of Water, was one of those easy ones to draft. In August the story came to me as a gift while I was hunkered down during Hurricane Irene in Western Mass. It is based loosely on a family story I had never heard before last summer when, stuck inside during the storm, my mother's cousin shared it with me. I stayed up all night, listening to the wind and drafting scenes in my head. Over the next several months it consumed me, obsessed me. And so I started it as a NaNoWriMo project on November 1st, wrote furiously to the end, and sent off the first draft to my editor on February 14th. Just three months from beginning to end.

But man, has it been a misery to revise. The characters have eluded me at every turn. The structure gave me headaches. There were mornings when I would rather have done anything than to hang out with those people again. Family or not.

It amazes me how different the process is for every novel. The first draft of Grace took over a full year to complete, but the revisions came easily. Two Rivers took five years to write and nearly two years to revise. I wrote This Glittering World in six weeks. And just when I feel like I'm getting a hang of this novel writing thing, I realize I still have so much to learn. What I do know, is that novels do not write themselves. Writers write them. And whether on the front end or the back end, it takes time.

And I'm also pretty sure that tomorrow when I get up I'm going to miss having my morning coffee with Eva and Billie.

No comments: