Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Turning a corner

It looks as if my mother will be given the all-clear to return home after cancer surgery ten days ago. She's had a rotten time of it despite the operation being a success (as far as we know at this stage), but I'm hoping she's turned a corner at last. Adding to the stresses of last week, I've been wrestling with the revisions to the novel. Thanks to the input from the agent I know what's right and wrong with it but the more I edit, the more it slips away from me. That's how it felt.

So yesterday I started writing a new end scene, entirely new. I was writing, not editing, not shuffling scenes around in the hope they'd fall out the right way. Of course now it seems so obvious: I needed to WRITE my way out of the mess. I'm sparky with ideas for how to fix it. Oh and I love my heroine (and hero) all over again. I know there are people who enjoy the discipline of editing but for my money you can't beat writing. I feel I'm flexing all the right muscles after months of trying to fit myself in a cramped space and sit tight.


K.C. Ball said...

I hope all continues to go well for your mother, Sarah. And sometimes, it is almost as difficult to watch a loved one go through recovery as it is, were you doing it yourself.

I know what you mean about having the editing blues. I have reworked Lifting Up Veronica so many times, I sometimes think it would have been better to simply started with a blank page and rewrote it without "benefit" of having what went before.

I am sending it about, but I wonder if in fixing it, I also erased all the passion I put into it originally.

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, KC. And yes - the fear that by editing you cut out the heart, the passion - that's always with me. It's almost inevitable that you start to love it a little less yourself, I think. But I've heard so many accounts from other writers who'd feared that the readers would feel the same way - see it as a sterile product - and then found the opposite: that readers got from it all the original passion the writer put in... I think it's safe to say that we can put that particular anxiety aside. I hope "Veronica" finds a good home and wish it many readers.

Nik's Blog said...

Hope your mum continues her recovery and quickly.

Writing's what we do, isn't it? That's the first love (as much fun as editing can be...!).


Vanessa Gebbie said...

Loads of warm wishes for your mother's recovery, Sarah.

And I'm pleased to hear that some of the rewriting is taking a turn for the better!


Anne Brooke said...

So glad to hear about your mother - that's great news! And enjoy the editing/writing process.



Tania Hershman said...

Sarah, so glad to know your mum will be home soon. It must be really tough recovering from the op even if it went well, it's such a trauma to the body.

And re editing, I've done that too - decided after fruitless pruning and tweaking to just start a story from scratch. These days I tend to turn problematic "longer" stories into flashes, a process that's worked really well for me, but I guess you can't do that with a novel! So glad you still love your protagonists and that you found your way to "revise".

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Nik, Vanessa, Anne and Tania.

Interesting what you say about splitting longer stories into flashes, Tania. One of the ways I'm breathing new life into the novel is by inserting a series of short chapters from other povs which very much take the form of flash: self-contained pieces that tell a tale and shed light on and/or preface developments in the main narrative. It's really great to be writing flash again.

Shameless said...

I'm glad things are going well with your mum. Hope they continue to.

You know, besides writing, another good thing to do is fill out crazy memes when people tag you.

So you're tagged.

Because I love your blog.

No worries if you don't want to play.

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Kev, sure I'll play.