I’ve been working for a couple months on a revision of my novel. I’ve been in no hurry to see the actual new draft get shaped into itself. In fact, the opposite – it has started to seem that the longer I delay propping up the new draft, creating the manuscript, the better it will be for it. Instead, I did some things I’ve pretty much never done. I created lots of overlapping documents that worked on individual scenes, characters and plot lines. I tracked arcs. I wrote bios/psycho-socials of my characters. I created two outlines- the long chapter outline and the shorter chapter outline. (Shorter seems to be winning out.) I wrote a brand new chapter (chapter 2) that introduces new historical events, a new country and people, and that puts my main characters in drastically different conditions than they were before. I doggedly avoided reading what was already there.
Today I stayed “home” from my working vacation, in a blissfully unadorned, uncluttered hotel room in Costa Rica, skipping two hospital site visits, and I propped up the prologue and the first two chapters of the new draft, 50 pages in total. It was an all day affair. I’m sure they’ll get propped and re-propped as the next few months and hundreds of pages pile in, but it’s on its feet. Reminding me of Bambi on the frozen pond that first time. Wobbly as hell, but worth rooting for in all his unformed strengths and beauty. I’m not sure who Thumper represents. Probably the best kind of successful novelist friend who routinely cheers, “Come on, Bambi, you can do it!”