I haven't updated this in over two months. Wow… Just wow. I wish I could elucidate why it's taken me more than sixty days to make a single blog post, but I really have no reasonably valid excuse. Time has just slipped away. Onward, upward, and out of my grasp… Excelsior.
I'm still in that strange "so close, yet so far" place as far as the book itself goes. The momentum I expected from realizing how close I am to finishing it is nowhere to be seen. Instead, I've been bogged down by the plethora of literary sanding and polishing tasks required to have anyone take me seriously in a professional fashion.
It's the lack of movement on the part that has kept me from updating here. I told myself I always wanted to have something either illuminating, helpful, or otherwise newsworthy for every post on the site, but I'm realizing now that's not as easy as it sounded initially. I don't think this post qualifies as any of those things, which should indicate to you that I've decided to just bite the bullet and write something.
"So what's left to do on the book?" you theoretically may be asking (but almost definitely aren't). Well, I'm glad you theoretically asked.
1. Editing, editing, editing. Copyediting (edits to spelling, punctuation, grammar, etc.), editing for content (removing chapters or sections that just don't work, or are too similar to others), and editing for length. The last one is largely dependent on hearing back from an agent or someone else knowledgeable in the publishing industry. My book is long, but I'm hesitant to remove chapters just because the average memoir is readable in an afternoon or two.
2. Ali's journals. With the help of Ali's mother and aunt, I'm currently in the process of scanning, transcribing, and ideally adapting Ali's journal entries, which are legion. I'm having such a hard time writing interesting chapters about her childhood and teen years that somewhat match the tone and content of my "growing up" chapters. It's a rough and not very glamorous process, which is probably why I'm putting it off to write this entry.
3. Rewrites. This is the one I've been fearing the most, due to something that my friends and I refer to as "Fez Syndrome". There's a videogame called Fez, and in interviews its creator, Phil Fish has talked about why the game took so many years to complete. New to game development, Mr. Fish (heh) said that after finishing one section of the game, he would go back to developing on a different section and would find that his previous work would seem amateurish in comparison with how his skills had progressed in the intervening time and man-hours. He would then need to redo that whole section of the game as it would no longer match the quality and aesthetics of the most recently worked on sections. Then, of course after finishing THAT section, the other sections would seem rough and unpolished. So on and so forth.
I'm beginning to see that very thing happening to me, which I knew would be a risk. I've talked before about how I decided just to wager all and plunge headfirst into writing… Knowing that properly educating myself on the nuts and bolts of writing would likely make me analyze and question every word endlessly. Now, I'm beginning to see a difference in writing quality in tone from the earliest chapters I've written in comparison to recent ones. So what? See above endless cycle.
4. Logistics. Probably one of the biggest projects I need to undertake stems from the fact that I didn't write any chapters in chronological order. I just wrote whatever needed to come out at any given point, with some prioritization given to "importance". Now I need to do things like: make sure there's appropriate transitions between chapters, introduce people (characters?) at the appropriate times, ensure I actually write about all the things I reference later down the road, so on and so forth. I'm not really sure where to even start or how to go about some of these. Especially since I'm toying with the idea of ordering chapters not by chronological order, but by topic and thematic and emotional relationship to each other.
As you can see, even when I'm not actually doing much writing, I'm wearing myself out thinking about writing. Sometimes I'm not even sure that's a good thing. Being self-aware of your work is a very good thing, hyper analyzing everything you think about writing can be utterly maddening. Of course, On top of all of the above projects looms two of the most intimidating of all: publicity and publishing. I think I'll save those for a future entry, however.
I mostly just wanted to update and let the dozen or so people who actually read this now that I haven't forgotten about it, and I am still plugging away at the process. Until next time, see you around space cowboy.