Happy New Year! We're back on task after a holiday vacation--here's wishing all of you a great year of reading, writing, teaching, and whatever else you do.
I just sent a novel draft to my literary agent--maybe and maybe not the version that will make its way to my editor, and certainly not the one that (with any luck) will see eventual publication. This is the third draft of this book--the first I finished in August, the second was a fast rewrite to give to Rhian. (That's it there, in the photo.)
Rhian's comments were fairly exhaustive, and during the semester I made myself a long list of changes, cuts, and additions to work on over break. The day after the last day of class, I dug in, and when I handed my grades in I started writing and revising as fast as I possibly could.
Rhian often says that I work too fast, and she's probably right. But every revision, I think, is a compromise between what you know you have to do, what you aren't admitting to yourself that you have to do, and how long you can bear to do it. I'm a fairly aggressive reviser, but I do it best in bursts of a few weeks--I have to declare completion in order to relax, so that I can gather energy for the next sortie. In my case, there will probably be another draft after my agent sees it, and then (again, with luck) several more with my editor. The result of this is that I'm always showing people inadequate versions of things--but for some reason I need to hear somebody else tell me when I've failed. I don't seem to have the strength to tell it to myself.
In any event, here's to a couple of weeks of nothing--a good way to start 2010, I think.