War with the Final Draft.

February 28, 2010

The Many First Lines of “A Good View of the Mushroom Clouds”:

October:  “I stand in front of the door and know of nothing but the door.”

November:  “There was a door in front of me and I knew of nothing but the door.”

December:  “The door stood there in front of him and no other thought entered his mind.”

January:  “Were Leo any smarter, he would have just walked through the door upon seeing it, but he didn’t.”

February:  “Rather than knocking on the door, or even thinking about knocking, Leo just stood there because, at that point, he didn’t know any better.”

Final Draft:  “In the opening scene of Acception, Leo Whalen’s first full-length feature film, a character named Alice (played by Gabriella Rowly) approaches the wooden front door of a house and hesitates before knocking.”

As I sift through these pages and pages of drafts that I’ve written, it’s amazing to see how much I’ve over-thought the beginning of my novel.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s shocking to me to see how far this project of mine has come.   It started with a simple thought while I was on a hike this September: a man having to re-experience his life after he died.  And now it’s a hugely complex, surreal, chaotic adventure of the same man with the same problem.  In other words it’s evolved into something I can hardly control.  And now it’s up to me to add the finishing touches.  Which means:

A rewrite.

People don’t understand writers.  Hell, writers don’t understand writers.  Writing a novel isn’t as simple as taking a mere hour out of your day to write four or five perfect pages.  Writing demands your time and energy and sometimes a small chunk of minutes won’t suffice it’s appetite.  My novel feeds off me, and soon I’m left broken and crumbled and I hate it, hate it, hate it because I can’t make it happy.  And a happy novel makes a happy Munz, and the cycle goes round and round.  Anyway, I’m getting off track (how writer of me!).  Let’s talk about my problem at hand.

After counting, I have 24 documents on Word and Scrivener (Mac writing program) that pertain to my novel, “A Good View of the Mushroom Clouds.”  After using my handy dandy calculator, I have a total of 208,523 words that I’ve written for it.  The average novel is about 75,000 to 100,000 words.   I’ve written my novel more times than I’ve wanted to, and now I can’t figure out how to complete it.  With all this ammunition you’d think it easy for me to just take the good parts and throw it all together, but it’s so so so so so much harder than that.  How the hell does one just throw together a novel?

My Fickle Excuse(s):

  • Hello 40-hour-plus weeks.  I have a full time job so it’s difficult for me to dedicate the amount of time that I want towards my book.  I have two days off, but my mind is so out of it after my fustercluck of a job choice that I can’t even begin to process my organization, let alone try to be creative.
  • …um, well that’s my main excuse I guess.  Maybe my laziness is a factor as well, but that’s not an excuse.  I embrace my lazy lifestyle.

So there you are, novel.  Ready to be put together like a puzzle with all its pieces out.  Progress wise, I have the corner pieces done.  I’ve written a solid opening chapter, and I’ve written a satisfactory ending.  Those I won’t touch until the day (fingers crossed!) my editor says, “Change it, change it!”  It’s just all that mud in the middle that I have to make clear.  It’s insanely difficult.  It all makes sense up here–point to head–but it doesn’t make sense here–point to computer.   In all honesty I’m just unhealthily obsessed with the whole thing.  What I need is two weeks to throw it all together.  If I can get two weeks, I’m sure I can complete it.

So here I lay, on my bed with nothing but blogging on my mind.  I’ll be the first to tell you that writing is hard, man.  Writing is a job and it requires more attention than I was prepared to offer.  I love the people who say “I’m thinking about writing a novel” because rarely do you hear “I’ve completed my novel!”  It’s those people we envy because they were able to do what we couldn’t.  Writing is definitely a passion of mine, but this final draft is my worst enemy.

Improv practice tonight.  Time to loosen up.  Mom has some “old people” guests downstairs and soon we’ll all be chowing on some lasagna.  That is if Leo Whalen and this book will let me…   Oof.



One Response to “War with the Final Draft.”

  1. Paige. said

    Ok Andy…I want to read it. just so you know. It may take a while for you to finish it but when you do I know it will be a masterpiece. just saying. 🙂

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