I used to make a big deal out of Holland Bay, that novel I’ve been working on off-and-on for years now. When I wrote the first few scenes of that novel, I lived somewhere else while married to someone else and working at a different job. I was also still a community college dropout. I had yet to do my first standup gig. The first draft checked in at 105,000 words. So…
Quick revisions, pack it off to the betas, and then send it to my agent?
Oh, that’s another thing that changed. I don’t have an agent anymore. They find it productive when you send them stuff.
Plus, the plot of this thing was absolutely Dickensian. I’d come up with a character intending to use him or her for one scene, and they’d spawn a new plotline. I had about a dozen to wrap up at the end, which explains why it checked in at 105,000 words.
So I had to go back and start over from scratch. I’m writing partly from memory, but partly by limiting myself to two protagonists, two antagonists, maybe adding a third to each side late in the novel. In some ways, it’s too bad. I wrote a great scene about a reporter I came up with sparring in the news room with a Rutgers-obsessed sports reporter named Dave White. Had to cut the reporter and that scene. Too much to keep track of.
Part of the problem is the inspiration for this tome, The Wire. The Wire had about a dozen episodes to tell its story each season. I get 200-400 pages. I need to be more 87th Precinct, less Wire.
I’m taking my time this round. I had convinced myself I could finish it over winter break, but that didn’t happen. So now it gets done when it gets done.
It’s a whole new first draft.