July was a blur.
And somehow between an illness that would not leave for anything to a houseguest for an extended weekend I managed to write almost forty thousand words on my novel, Chavez Ravine. Or rather, rewrite.
The first draft was finished back in ’12 and I have been working on fixing plot holes and character issues since the beginning of the year when I benched the project for a number of reasons.
But in July I picked it back up and tried like hell to find my voice again. It was my fear when I had to step away from the project back in spring that my momentum would be lost and it was. Slowly, however, I am feeling the flow again.
It helps that I met a fellow writer during the July Camp NANO and we are in the beginning stages of critiquing each others novels. I will say after keeping this project to myself for so very long it is kind of exciting having another person read it with fresh eyes…and who isn’t related or married to me.
I have let a handful of people read the prologue – mainly because it was the one chapter that I rewrote in a writer’s group probably fourteen times and felt it was the strongest chapter. The benefit of having a fellow writer read and critique your work is because of this: I let a friend read the prologue. Her response was quick and predictable. “Oh it was great.” And, here is the kicker: “Was Sophia based on your mom because I could have sworn it was!”
Oh. Me. Gawd.
No. The characters aren’t directly anyone I know in real life. They are people who just happen to speak to me at all hours of the day and night.
Okay, that sounds creepy but if you are a writer, you know what I am talking about.
I wanted to make it through the entire book by the end of July. At the beginning of the month I was on chapter 17 and when the month was over I was on chapter 28. One chapter shy of finishing act two. This was definitely a more difficult month for me because writing first drafts I can do quickly and awful-ly and bang out anywhere from fifty to eighty thousand words in a thirty day span. This time every word felt like I was walking through a swimming pool, in a rainstorm, with bees buzzing at my face.
As of today I have exactly fourteen more chapters to rewrite before I can turn back to chapter 1 and begin the edit process all over again. (Sigh. Sometimes it does feel like it is never-ending.)
Crazy as it seems, I love it all. The entire process – even the walking in the swimming pool part.
This story will simply not leave me until I finish it. I keep stumbling onto little tidbits about Los Angeles and Chavez Ravine and the Dodgers and it draws me in and I think, “Oh, I have to find a way to put that in the book.” I wonder if there will be a time when the book is finished and I stumble onto a new little gem and can just leave it be?