I've mentioned before that I don't work from an outline of any sort, that I write stories in order to find out how they end. And that's definitely true here. This project started out when two sentences popped into my head one day:
Dreams and the Dead walk the streets of the City of Nyx. Dreams and the Dead, and both are mine.
And I kind of love that opening, and my point of view character, Siobhan Black. And I love writing the city, Nyx. I am having such fun writing this story, I cannot even tell you.
But about a week ago, things began to go wrong. My daily word count started slowing down. I wrote an entire scene - a scene that's really good, with an interesting secondary character - that is completely and utterly wrong for this book. So I took a break from writing new stuff, and concentrated on transcribing words from the notebook to the computer. And then the word count clicked past a certain number and I realized, oh, right, this is the point where it stops making sense.
Linger did this, too. And I really worried then: sent out a mass email to my Clarion classmates begging for readers, spent an hour on the phone with one of my instructors, because, Oh, dear Lord, I had left out stuff here and there, and written an entire character incorrectly, and fought against putting in a defining theme, but I had written what felt like so many words, so did I start over, or keep going?
The thing that I realized is, I could do both. I knew then, and know now, the gist of what I've done wrong (or not wrong so much as not true to the story). In the case of Linger, I made extensive notes on what to do for the rewrite, drew a line in the notebook to remind myself where things changed, and continued to write as if I had made the changes. I had never finished a novel-length project before, and I needed to let myself know that I could.
This time, I'm doing the rewrite now. Partially because I know that I can and will finish, and will not remain here, seduced by the search for perfection, but also because in Linger, I could see how the pieces would fit if I made changes and in this case, I can't yet. I feel like I am writing what T. S. Eliot described in "Little Gidding": "Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning." I need, in this case, to know every bit of the beginning before I can know the end. And I have confidence that I will get there, and that the words will be right when I do.