Blog No. 20 by novelist Jeremy Logan -- A Time to Rest My Mind
Now that I've sent the first of the Disaster Trilogy novels to the editor, I'm working on the next one. However, I will use the next month or so as a cleansing and strengthening period. My brain needs a rest from the strain of finishing Majeski's Ride.
Like any project, writing a novel has several stages. The early portion is, perhaps, the most enjoyable. You are the most productive and prolific novelist in this stage. You can't wait to progress to a point where it's starting to take form and have a structure.
The last few months are tense and engulfed with anguish and frustration as you try your best to perfect it. So often you find an improvement that changes the time continuum. Imagine, if you will, that writing a novel is like inventing time travel. Your manuscript is your time machine, and every time you revisit an event in the past it sends a ripple of changes in the future. Only in the novelist's case, the rest of the novel will have to accurately reflect the revisions made earlier in the book. Another way of saying it is: If you change something that has a bearing on the outcome, it's a safe bet that passages following the revision will have to be revised according to the new outcome.
The converse is also true. Let's say you decide it's necessary to change the outcome. Everything preceding that outcome will have to be revised according to the new outcome. Here's an example: I had a character that played an important role in the outcome. During the early rewrites it became obvious that he/she should not be a part of the denouement. By making that change you need to change your development of that character. Maybe you deemphasize him or simply remove the time you spent creating a foundation for his later role.
This is tedious work that is far from exercising your creative mind. It's closer to crunching numbers. Since I was once an accountant, I know that feeling. When it's finally over and you've sent the manuscript to the editor there is a feeling of relief. It's not so much a feeling of accomplishment. It's closer to finding a cure for what ails you and stopping the pain.