The creative process is very often a messy, messy affair. That’s one of the first things you learn when you study any type of craft. Mine, in particular, is messy in a non-literal sense. Sure, there are the sentences that you stop saying halfway through because you’re seized with the need to write or to yell at a character for a terrible idea, and yes, people do think that you’re crazy if you listen to and talk back to the voices in your head. Writing is a crazed profession. But, it’s not messy. When I work, I don’t get covered in paints or clay or anything, but I’d be willing to argue that writing is still the messier craft.
Life, also, is messy. How fortuitous. If it wasn’t, I doubt it would be of any inspiration. My family life is messier than most families, and, unless you were raised in a test tube, you are undoubtedly aware of the messy nature of families. Yesterday, I spent two and a half hours with my previously estranged grandfather. He just had his knee replaced and his leg straightened, and, after many complications and set backs, is in rehab and making good progress towards recovery. Apparently, now, we are good buddies. He missed my entire life, and, in a matter of hours, we are a family.
My characters are all fighting. I think it started before the first hints of any reconciliation surfaced. I guess if it isn’t one thing, it’s your mother… Or your grandmother. Or your grandfather. Or your protagonist.
Anyway, I sent off this latest version to my former adviser, as well as the current one. I’m super nervous. The new section is amazing, but it completely changes the target audience if it stays the way it is. I’m going to have to go out to Southampton and get some additional solid craft advice on this one. I need my characters to talk to me. And I want this book to finally be complete enough that I can send it to people without having to apologize for the fact that nothing’s where it should be.
I think that the next time I write a book, I should really write it linearly and tell the story from beginning to end. It would be much easier that way. Or, maybe not. Perhaps I will spend the rest of my life jigsaw editing. It keeps the process messy and interesting. 😉