I’m in a good place.
When I spoke to my agent a couple weeks ago, Kirby told me my latest draft has transformed my novel. The characters, he said, now leap off the page, and everything about the novel—the pacing, the world, and the plot—are all working. Certain scenes moved him deeply. In short, he loved it, and he wanted to know how I’d done what I’d done. As we talked and I explained how I’d rewritten the entire thing, taking out certain plot constraints so… Continue reading
Whenever I hang out sheets to dry on the line, I think of my mom doing the same thing up north at the cabin in Minnesota where we went every summer when I was a kid. The place had a washer but no dryer, and she depended on energy from the sun to dry clothes for her family of nine. She would flap out the shorts and shirts, dishtowels and jeans, and peg them all efficiently on the white ropes that crisscrossed the back yard. Her shoes would tread paths… Continue reading
When I met up with an old friend this weekend, she asked how a novel could go through 10 or more revisions and what that looks like. She was really interested in the nitty-gritty. Explaining my process often makes me aware of how messy it is, how unlike the organized planning, outlining and drafting that my friend was expecting. I do outline, but not until after I have a rough draft, and then I routinely throw out large chunks and rewrite new ones.
Her questions made me wonder how I… Continue reading
My editor Kate Jacobs and I keep in touch regularly about my progress with my drafts, and we mutually agree about when I have one due, based on what stage the book is in and how much revising needs to happen.
For instance, I’m currently working on the 5th draft of Vault 3, and when I began it back in July, I thought I could turn it in by today. I started realizing last weekend, however, that I was… Continue reading
Since it’s summer and I spent decades in school, the schedule in my bones tells me I ought to be on vacation. I’m not, of course. I have work like the other grownups, so my bones have to be quiet and let me concentrate.
Today, I’m working on draft 5 of Vault 3, and the current challenge has to do with taking my existing scenes deeper and finding a way to thread in one of my characters who has so far preferred to stay on the sidelines. It’s tricky… Continue reading
Part of the trouble with writing a new book involves unlayering a new side of yourself, a thinking you’ve never tried. These characters haven’t existed before in this way, for this book, and the sole place to look them up is inside, in the foggy places.
For me, it’s like meeting an unknown version of myself and gradually becoming her. My Vault 2 people are back there in my mind. I saw their exterior actions and speeches when they showed up in the first draft, but now as… Continue reading