I’m kicking myself, as writers often do. Actually, in every profession I’ve been in to date, there were times when I kicked myself. Typically, the problem has been that I’ve put put off doing something that I knew needed to be done. And that is where I am on my current work-in-progress, the sequel to Lead Me Home. I’ve procrastinated until I can’t procrastinate any more.
I have been editing the manuscript for my sequel and discussing this draft with my critique partners. We just finished going through the current draft. Most scenes are in decent shape, and I like how the characters have developed. My dialogue is getting tighter, and my descriptions add texture.
But I’ve finally done what I knew needed to be done—what I should have done two drafts ago. I’ve reviewed the manuscript with a calendar for 1848-1850 in hand, checking the dates when each event in the novel takes place, to see whether the timeline meshes.
And I’ve found gaps and inconsistencies.
This novel’s plot is much more complex than the plot in Lead Me Home, which progressed day by day along the Oregon Trail. The sequel takes place over almost three years, and has two separate story lines that weave together at various points. I have to deal with long-distance communications in an era before telegrams and telephones, when even letters took weeks or months to arrive at their destinations. (I won’t tell you any more, to avoid spoilers.)
During my several drafts of this book, I have made adjustments in the timeline to mesh with historical events and the seasons of the year. But I discovered I didn’t adjust all the dates, and some inconsistencies have crept in. For example, I found a sea voyage that is supposed to take eight to ten days, but last more than three weeks in my current draft.
A friend asked me the other night how my novel was coming along. My reply contained the words “stupid book”. She looked at me in askance, and said, “But isn’t it a labor of love?”
But not always.
Kind of like kids and pets. We love ’em to pieces, and they still drive us crazy.
I’m at the crazy stage in this book.
The good news is that I’ve been writing long enough now that I know I can get through this. I know what has to be done, and I know how to do it. One word at a time, one page at a time, the novel will come together. In fact, I’ve already plugged one of the biggest plot holes.
The bad news is that I know how much work it will take in the next few months.
Nevertheless, I still plan to publish it by the end of the year.
God willing and the creek don’t rise. Which sounds like something one of my characters might say.
When have you procrastinated? (Don’t we all?)