Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chapters 1-4

I started revising the NaNoWriMo version last fall. I had learned a lot about writing, writing a novel, and writing in Drayton's voice during the first version. The work on the first ten chapters improved steadily from chapter-to-chapter until it was really achieving a particular sound and feel. I had been helped along in this by an Internet friend, Robert, who kept telling me which parts he liked, which sentences hit the mark, and so gave me clues like breadcrumbs on a storybook road.

A great deal of writing is listening.

I proceeded in fits and starts as time and inspiration allowed, and by February I had reworked the first three chapters and a portion of Chapter Four. I had rewritten pretty ruthlessly and changed a lot, taking out hard, unnecessary, jokey jokes, and allowing the humor come through more naturally. I had to learn to let Drayton talk and to let the story tell itself.

Things were creeping along, however there remained on big impediment: The Radio Show.

Concurrantly with writing the novel, I have been developing a radio show. By February 2006, I had completed 11 out of 13 projected scripts, and had begun work on number 12. Switching back-and-forth from Drayton to radio scripts was proving difficult and both projects suffered. And so, I made the decision to concentrate on finishing the scripts and to put Drayton aside for the time being.

After three-and-a-half months of working on the scripts and a couple of other things that came up, I was able to get back to work on Chapter Four about a week ago.

I found it going in a direction I had not anticipated. Instead of covering the same ground as the origninal Chapter Four, I found that I was expanding on just one portion of it: the portion in which Drayton finds out that his client has been killed and following up on that info.

Most of the new Chapter four concerns Drayton's trip to a restaurant called Dinky Donuts for coffee, donuts, and a newspaper. Other than in the announcement of Briarbrook's death, the plot was not moved forward at all.

It turned out to be a tiny, little chapter, but necessary, I think. After consulting with my editorial consultant, Robber G., I rewrote the first portion--the part I had done last February--and was done with it. The rest of the old Chapter four was destined to become the new Chapter Five.

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