It’s draft number eight of my novel, The Longest Winter of Holly Walker. I’m thinking, two more drafts to go, but I thought that about half a dozen drafts ago as well. The good thing is that I can see the improvements clearly; the annoying thing is that the remaining inconsistencies and clumsy craft stand out even more; I’m like a cabinet maker whose cabinets have misaligned hinges.
The major characters are more delineated; the minor characters have been put back in their boxes, so that they can stay minor characters and not pull focus away from the major ones. Weather and time continuity errors have been eliminated for the most part. And for good measure, I’m halfway on to changing the title.
So what is it that remains? A comedy/drama of several generations of middle-class New York City dwellers trying to survive love and family. People fighting for a future that they can’t control. The attempt to stay human in the midst of the unknowable. The ridiculousness of needing and wanting others, despite the impossibility of living up to others’ expectations. It’s about opening up, beginning to feel again, about parents and children, about figuring out how to get up in the morning.
So the manuscript is printed out, and into the drawer it goes for another few weeks so that I can get some perspective on it again. I’ll probably look for more readers, although I wouldn’t want to ask the same readers from before; I want people who are knowledgeable about writing, but fresh to this piece.
Meanwhile, novel #2 is about half way through it’s first draft…