It’s not that it was all that messy, really. Even at its worst, people with children could come over and gaze enviously at expanses of floorspace totally devoid of scattered toys. Perhaps I’m just feeling the anxiety of my Summer Vacation coming to an end, and having things clean and tidy helps me feel like I’m Organized and Getting Everything Done. For whatever reason, I spent a couple hours putting things away, washing dishes, paying bills, and finishing off a handful of Minor Projects (you know, the sorts of things that you think you’ll get to any day now, so it’s not worth putting all the materials away until you’re ready to do it, but it’s just complex enough that you don’t want to start on it until you have a block of time clear. That kind of project).
Then I started thinking about my novel. Not the current one, but “Skeptical Augury” my Very First NaNo Novel, from 2003. I’d pretty much decided that I wasn’t ever going to submit that manuscript to agents and publishers, despite trying to edit it during NaNoEdMo in 2004. Back then, I had tried adding in sections from a couple new points of view: the antagonist and one of his captains. And it didn’t work. I struggled with it, and finally gave up.
Then, on one of our hikes, sanguinity mentioned someone putting his novel on the Web as a pay-what-you-will arrangement. And I thought that something along those lines might work for my novel. I could preface it with explanation, so people would know its provenance and not expect too much. And if they read it and liked it, I might get a few dollars from it. So I reopened the file and read through the draft.
If I do say so myself, there’s a fair bit in there that Does Not Suck! And I realized why my previous revision efforts failed; the story’s about people facing strange and unexplained events, and my additional material was explaining them. So I was alternately setting up mystery and diluting it. The answer, obvious to me NOW, is to work with the idea, make the protagonists struggle with the inexplicable, and give the reader just enough hints and clues, but not explain everything.
Of course, with those revisions, this novel might rise to a level of Not-Suckiness to be worthy of consideration for submission. Which kind of takes it from the “might as well put it on the web for people to read” category. We’ll see. Now I need to keep my excitement about this from distracting me from working on “Joyest Place.”
So I guess I ended up working on my comic, my possessions and my novel after all. Just not how I expected.