Monday, March 14, 2011

Major Editing Finished on Novel

It was hard, it was difficult. I had thought of abandoning the novel project several times. I had the first draft in hand but I wanted it to go through a proper edit because some parts of it just didn't register in the mind when I read it. You know, writing a novel is hard work, really hard work. I am not discouraging anyone but with the extent of time spent, the reading done, the research done, the rewriting and editing done, it is just like making a movie, or, for that matter making an aircraft carrier. It's that hard. It involves manipulating several stages and you need to get all things straight without letting the narrative flag. Besides I wanted to avoid mistakes I had made on my first novel. I kept a plot firmly in front of me and went by it. I kept a description of all the characters in front of me. I wanted it to be a hands on novel, with well defined characters who would make the story come alive.

Imagine the number of movies I could have seen, the number of vacations I could have gone to, the hours of social networking I could have done in the hours and hours I had spent in front of the laptop hammering away, lonely as a decrepit homeless man (though I confess I have a wife and a beautiful home), in a world peopled only by me and my characters. Some days I have stared at the screen and couldn't write a word. The characters just wouldn't move, say a word. I had to give up when there was something of the story still in me. Sometimes the plot and story came so thick and fast that I couldn't put down a thing, I was swamped by their (the character's) bum rush. Sometimes I just didn't feel like writing. Yea, that happens too!

I am glad this phase of editing is over. There's a controversy raging on a literary forum whether an Master of Fine Arts (MFA) is necessary to write a novel. Some say emphatically that it is. I think that's bad news for me. I don't have an MFA or an MBA. But I know - from experience - where MFAs and MBAs go wrong and my novel is about one of them (an MBA). The problem with academics is that it robs the subject of the vital soul of the narrative and makes for self-conscious writing. I confess I have nothing against academics, I respect their erudition. I think writing is a lonely profession and a writer's craft develops as a negative does in the darkness, i.e., not in the glare of academia but in the noir regions of the lonesome mind.

Anyway, in spite of a debilitating viral fever which confined me to my bed for five days I could finish the rewrite yesterday. I also wrote in fits when I was sick managing a laptop on my lap (truly, where else?).

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