Thursday, March 09, 2006

Shoveling shit

Today was one of those days with my novel. However, my doctor, who says she's a combination of Albert Schweitzer and Mary Baker Eddy, says she only thinks positive thoughts. What would that be like? Anyway my point is to say something positive about shoveling shit, and I think it's this: you must shovel until you discover what the problem is. In the past when I sensed something was wrong with a story I stopped writing. This time I kept going, sinking further and further into the slime until the size and shape of the problem suddenly became clear. You push toward it till it rises up like the swamp thing, whereas if you stay back from it you may never see it. Sadly the swamp thing means some major overhauling in my case, and I'm trying to figure out if I need to go back now and start over, or just move forward and fix later. What I also learned was that I had the right idea in a very early draft and got talked out of it, because I didn't know why I'd put it there. So the larger lesson is never, ever show the first draft to anyone. Second or third draft at the earliest.

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