Thursday, March 29, 2007

What I'm Writing: progress today and feedback rationing

Had a good chunk of the morning available for writing today. I'm hard at work on a second draft of my second novel. When I finished the first draft, around Thanksgiving, it was about 350 pages long. Since then I've done a big round of cuts, bringing it down to about 275 pages. Now I'm in expansion mode, and it's grown back up to about 305. I find it interesting how a novel in progress sort of breathes its way into its final shape and length. (Plays develop differently.)

I've been working only the second half of the book lately, because the first 160 pages are in the hands of my fiction writers group. We meet next Thursday, and they will have a great deal of useful (and probably overwhelming) feedback. I'm trying hard to finish my current work on the second half before that feedback arrives, because, especially for expansion work, it's important to have a clear head. I've even been holding back from reading written comments from one of my readers who can't attend the meeting. She's given me a few pages of notes, but I won't read them (okay, I confess, I skimmed them) until next week. Any time I have to write new material, it's so important to avoid self-consciousness, and that's impossible with the echoes of a handlful of critiques bouncing around in my head.

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