Getting a little past the halfway mark during the rewriting phase of my thesis, a historical novel, was an interesting ride. I seemed to have edited a lot of that portion during the first draft – much more than I honestly should have – which made the read easier. There were still some holes, but the gist of the story was well in place. The second half wound up settling me down into “The Perilous Pause”, a period of time that Book Coach Sally Wolfe described in her blog post, “What to do when the fire of your first draft has gone out“. Even though I’m in the rewrite stage and the first draft was done, my “What-the-hell-am-I-doing?” moment finally reared its head.
For the better of over a week, that “Perilous Pause” was daunting. Rewriting is revisiting as well as editing out, moving around, and adding in. I’ve never been one with the ability to simply leave text alone for even one night with the expectation of resuming it at the same spot the next day. Nope, not me. I have to go back and reread at least a chapter or two to feel everything all over again. Rewriting is an arduous process for me. This time, it eventually interfered with all of my thinking.
The second half of the book needed some shaking up. It was a little too pat in sections for me and that meant a new character, which in turn wore me out. This new person introduced himself and I watched him interact with the key figures who brought him on board. Instead of looking at this fellow and his impact on the process as a necessary tool to the progress and success of the story, I got frustrated with him and hit a stopping point. I soon began to feel guilty about everything else around me falling under second place – helping husband with his work, making sure the family’s fed regularly, laundry, appointments for the car, the cat, and the kids, the other things not in my book, etc. Subsequently, I had to request an extension to my deadline. It’s not all bad, but I wanted it finished as originally planned so I could move on properly to other projects – and, as it should go without saying, graduate when expected!
Well, I thank God that I wasn’t completely idle about it all. My characters stuck by me and at any given moment, I’d scribble notes on envelopes, bits of paper, my tiny notebook, even taken photos of some notes and uploaded them to Evernote, in addition to drafting a quick note on my phone through Dropbox. So, thankfully, right now, I’ve got the house to myself so I can get back to it. While the family enjoys the beautiful, first rain-free day we’ve had in days, I’m taking a break here at my desk, near the sun-filled window between rereading a few of my earlier chapters. I’m ready to factor in that new person and some of my new notes so I can finish this book!