Mr. Sensitive

June 5, 2012

Book War II – Opening Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 09:25

It was not my best day.

The battle began at 10 a.m. sharp; in the future I will stagger start times, even if only slightly, to avoid putting so much execution pressure on an arbitrary point in time.  Nevertheless, it started well enough.  There was a lot of crossing out and angry circling and writing NO in the margins, but no more than expected.  I had, it seemed, a good sense of how to mark up the draft, constructively as well as critically.  I had been concerned I would be able to recognize crap as crap, yet be unable to improve upon it; that turned out not to be the case.  I had several good ideas–I thought–and I kept command of the context.  The initial read-through and mark-up was over in less than 45 minutes.  If I had stopped there it would have been a clear victory; but I would have wondered afterward whether I should have pushed on.

So I kept going.  The next step was to review my notes and apply the revision template I created last week for this purpose.  The notes I’d made were at least as effective as it had seemed, if not more so.  This process took me to the end of Brinkley’s nap, and then off-and-on into the afternoon.  Had I stopped with the notes, it would have been a triumph.  It would take a truly toxic combination of impatience and arrogance to keep going.

So I kept going.  When the girls got home from school, I shut myself in my office to work on the actual rewrite of Chapter 1.  This was, in hindsight, an unpardonable tactical blunder.  Almost immediately I was overworking and overwriting the opening.  I meant for it to be leaner and instead it became more bloated and less focused.  Part of that is due to a change in narrator from the original, and the new narrator does have a more deliberately tangential style.  Most of it, alas, was me becoming more bloated and less focused.  I went at it like that for nearly 90 minutes; if 20 percent of that output makes the final draft I’ll be shocked.  I don’t know for certain yet because I can’t bring myself to read over it this morning.  If I hadn’t been up against dinnertime and Katie’s return from work it could have been worse, because I could certainly have kept on crapping on.  Instead I called it off for the day.

Today I’m assessing, assessing in the sense of cleaning the house and ignoring the book.  I need a red pen, possibly a green pen, and certainly several highlighters.  And I need to limit myself to read-through and mark-up engagements.  The book is too strong to attack in depth without extensive preparation.


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