Friday, December 16, 2011

NO FINISH LINE ?

I began the third (fourth? fifth?) final version of my first and most serious novel, Surfing Vietnam yeaterday. After I complete this update, I am sure that this will be the final one. Nah, not really all that sure...

I was sure the other five times too. Sure...

The book keeps getting better, in the sense that it makes more sense each time I rewrite—is more an integrated piece. What started out as one short story that morphed into three short stories and then a series of linked short stories and finally a chronologically organized episodic novel, has always needed stitching and restitching to make it hang together. Finally, it seems I have found the super glue plot device to make it a real novel, and it is not all that hard a job applying the glue. The foundation or primer needed to make the glue stick was already there waiting. I did not realize the foundation was there until I started looking for it, tube of glue in hand.

I write intuitively, which means I am a neophyte using a euphemism for my own incompetence. I imagine all “real” novelists are plodders and planners—making outline after outline and lists of characters and plot points and story arcs. Sheeit... I do my writing using spit and duct tape and ignorance. And that works up to a point. There is a certain brash freshness to it that the old hacks lack, but it is far from efficient.

But how and when do I know when to stop writing it? This coming Sunday will be three years since I began this book. I want to have the rewrite done by then. It seems fitting to end on an anniversary date.

But...

Will I be writing about a Surfing Vietnam rewrite next year at this time. Stay tuned...

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