Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Journal of a "Novel"-Entry 17

Well, it has been a while since my last journal post on the "novel" that I am trying to start - my last offering was just an early excerpt from the Prologue on May 23. I may as well admit that I am having a difficult time with the Prologue, which is slow to shape up the way I hoped. So right now I am working on it, trying to decide what to do next: is it better to let the thing alone, knowing it has a lot of flaws, and proceed with the main portion of the story - i.e., Walter's story, starting in the 1920s - or, is it better to stick with the Prologue, rewrite it and revise it again (for the third time) before plugging on with the rest. I can see advantages to both. Working on this Prologue sort of feels like a thoroughbred horse using up all his energy ramming against the stuck gate of that little cage they put him in, wearing himself out before he even gets to the mile & a half race of track ahead, which has to be taken at nothing less than a dead sprint the whole way to have any prayer of getting the glory.

The last post with the excerpt was too short and too bland; I wouldn't blame anyone who may have seen it if they said, "What the hell would be the point of continuing with this story?" And while I hope the entire Prologue doesn't quite come across that way, or it is indeed a failure, it is good to be able to look back on it and know that it doesn't quite work.

These problems, by the way, aren't the worst to have, nor are they necessarily bumming me out or sending me into some kind of writerly depression. If anyone's wondering, I am not giving up this easily. Not a chance of that. This is the sort of challenge that I am supposed to face if I want to write fiction, so the message to me is, You want to do this, then welcome to it. See what you can come up with. The most frustrating things about it for me are two fold: first, the feeling that the Prologue doesn't quite have the mood or tone I want, and the difficulty with knowing how to capture that; second, the itch I have to press forward and try to take on the first chapter, writing about the 1920s, which will probably frustrate the hell out of me even more, and will be the subject of innumerable and tiresome rants in this journal sometime in the near future.

But for now, I do feel an excitement to try to create characters that live in that time, to see if I can. That's what all of this is about, the challenge of it. The story exists already, in my head, mostly my subconscious. The question is whether I can draw it out, cultivate it, write it down, then rewrite it until it is done WELL. I can see at this very early stage that this really is going to take a lot of work. And I get frustratingly little time to do that work, which is one of the problems contributing to the slow progress. But I have to try to make hay whenever the sun shines. Like this last Sunday, I got about 2 hours to spare during the afternoon, so I went over to the library and spent one of the hours taking notes about daily life in the 20s, and another hour revising pieces of the Prologue. It wasn't much, but I felt like I got a little bit done. It's going to have to be that kind of effort, balancing the desire, maybe the need, to write this story with all of my numerous other responsibilities.

This is the plight of the unknown writer, I have always asked for it, so bring it on.....

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