Friday, January 6, 2012
The end is not as far as it seems
Ask the layman how long they think a manuscript will take to finish when the first half took 4 years, and they'll tell you 8 years. Ask an author, and he'll have a better idea. My outline is a living entity I record on my tapes, these little dictatorial tapes designed for office work. I've recorded 21 and a third to date, and I've transcribed 17 onto the page. The first eighteen or so, went fairly fast because I was building the plot and characters in that precious hour I get to write while I'm in traffic on the way to and from work. (an hour commute each way). But the last few tapes have taken much longer, and putting those tapes on paper and then in the computer, and then in sequence won't take nearly as long as the first few. The ideas are much more focused. I know the characters far better than I did early on. And as soon as I catch up to what I'm recording, the hour I get at lunch to refine the prose will be much more focused, because instead of needing that time to take what I've written onto paper and entering it into the computer, I'll be able to concentrate on sequencing, and then eventually, on removing the parts that don't move the story along.
I would never recommend this process to anyone. It is ridiculously tedious. It is frustrating. But it's the only way that can work for me at the moment. I'm confident that, a year from now, I'll be putting it out there for critique, and another year later, I'll be querying. For those who punch out a book every six months, that may seem extreme, but for me, it feels like light at the end of the tunnel.