Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Clean-sweeping the old WIP
I loved that old, now-axed show CLEAN SWEEP on TLC. It gave me hope that one day I could de-clutter my house. But of course every time I get in the middle of a de-cluttering project, it's some sort of immutable law that either (a) a neighbor will show up uninvited or (b) some medical crisis will break loose and you have to leave your pulled out clutter in situ for days on end ... in which case, clause A of the De-Clutter Law comes into full play.
The point is, of course, that everybody's junk looks the absolute worst when a person is elbow-deep in it. It looks hopeless. You've got all of it pulled out, bright and unforgiving daylight shining down on it, instead of having it tucked away in the shadows. You can't ignore it. You can't pretend it isn't there.
And what's worse? Once the junk's gone from the place it was, and you see the floor that held it, that floor's not bare. It's covered with dust bunnies and scuff marks and stuff you really don't want to ponder about. (OK, YMMV, as you may be a stickler for moving your junk and vacuuming under it, whereas I will vacuum around it. Don't care what they say, that edge cleaner on my vacuum doesn't really clean the edges.)
If I could avoid collecting the clutter to begin with, I wouldn't have this problem. But it's not always possible, because well-meaning family members WILL give you another tea pot or mug or thingamabob for the collection you didn't really want to begin with but that now is the instant answer to their gift-giving quandaries. The only thing I can do, then, is to ward off my increasing tolerance for piles of clutter in my life.
I was thinking about all this as I continued tearing apart my WIP. I am in the middle of a chapter that is pivotal to the whole book. It goes in the exact opposite direction that it needs to go in, and thus I am gutting it like the trout it is.
At the moment, the chapter is one hot mess. I keep cutting and cutting and cutting, until I think, "Gee, it'd be simpler if I just start from scratch." But then, just as I am about to highlight the entire last half of the chapter and hit DELETE, I see, sheesh, that there's some dialogue that would be PERFECT for the new chapter.
So I've got little scraps of dialogue in the midst of a lot of blank lines, and I am trying to build the chapter around those scraps.
It will happen. I still remember having to do a massive revision the first time, thinking, "I can't do this," as I cannibalized the old manuscript for the new. And then there came the tipping point, the realization, like a six year-old on a big two-wheeler, that, "Whee! I'm doing it! I'm doing it!"
I know it will come, that tipping point. I'm holding out for it -- that, and a lovely Godiva truffle, or if I can't have that, a Snickers miniature. But in the meantime? Pshew. There sure are a lot of dust-bunnies in this WIP.