I submitted the opening of my contemporary YA novel to a workshop and have been editing and rewriting it the last couple of weeks. I also am looking at the work of some other writers, offering suggestions, asking questions. There are so many great storytellers out there, so many books I can't wait to read.
Focusing on this much editing has been interesting. The beginning of the novel has morphed several times since I first wrote it. Originally it had a prologue I loved. I was just starting to work in prose after years of poetry and the prologue was this gorgeous, honeyed piece of writing that I still love but am now trying to work without. I follow the work of a bunch of writers, editors and agents online and many of them say the same thing about prologues, that they try to do the work that should be happening in the story. Okay, I can see that. Of course I want to dig my heels in and hold on to the prologue, as it gives the action a place of context and mystery but I'l try it without. The beginning of the novel without the prologue feels like a whole other story completely. I'm erasing a lot of the poetry (I think) for narrative. I don't know if it feels right, it certainly doesn't feel natural. But all is a process, I'm in it. Work is work is work. I can always go back but I can't go back if I don't go forward.
The reworking of the beginning is a process of turning it up, turning it down, trying to get to that sweet spot of just enough. When I was in theatre productions in high school, toward the end of rehearsals for plays our director would have us go big, waaaay big, soap opera big. It felt ridiculous and over the top but it was meant to be so that when we dialed it back some of that dramatic energy stuck to the scenes. I'm letting myself go places I wouldn't normally go in these edits just to see what happens.
H and I went away for a couple of days for Valentine's Day. It was the first time I've actually done anything for the holiday. Everyone I dated before was a hater, you know? The kind who refused on the ground that V-Day was a corporate blah blah blah, consumerism blah, I'm above that blah. Good for them. We had a blast, went to Rosarito, non-tradish. No fancy dinners or flowers or chocolates. We sat on the beach and ate fresh out of the water oysters, clams and crab, downing cold beers. It was perfect. It was nice to get away for a couple of days, recharge.