Sick day

I haven’t slept in over 48 hours.

Well, that isn’t true – I remember sort of dozing off for about two hours the other day, and having fitful dreams in which myself, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost were saving our post-apocalyptic jungle-showboat-theme park world from leather-clad cyborg aliens and there may or may not have also been Pokemon involved, so I guess that counts – but the night preceding that afternoon I didn’t sleep because I went to bed too early and sent my circadian clock into shock, and last night I couldn’t sleep because one: my face-bones felt like they were caving in from the stress exerted by gravity, and two: having congestion, I couldn’t breathe through my nose properly. But most that first one, because that was horrible, and it’s still going on now, meaning I am loath to even lie down.

Strangely enough, I don’t feel all that sleep-deprived. I guess it really does go to show that when you stay indoors all day and partake in virtually no physical activity past typing and breathing, you really don’t need much sleep. That or I’m actually becoming a teenager again and have regained my youthful vigour. I’ve certainly been feeling more teenagery over the last couple of days, but in a mostly good way, so that’s nice.

Coming up to this last part of the note-taking process, I actually feel like I ought to go back and read through the whole draft again from start to finish now. A lot of what my notes have ended up being consists of changes I want to make in draft 2 feeding off what I’m identifying structure-wise in draft 1. And I mean that’s important; that’s something I have to do, and there is no way I’d take this draft as it is and just tidy up the spelling a bit and leave it at that. Most of the changes that I want to make are to swap around certain scenes as well, so that part of it feels organic, and of course nothing is set down in stone; but at the same time I can feel myself getting tunnel-vision, that stone is actually exactly what my notes are set down in, and as such I need to get some perspective. A second read-through, just focusing on what’s on the page and not looking for ways to make changes, might be really useful. Or it might not. Maybe just taking a few weeks off to get distance before coming back would be more helpful.

Or maybe taking a few weeks off to get distance and then doing a second read-through. Because now that I’ve gotten all of the ‘make changes to fix things’ urges out of my system – well, actually, I have no idea if that’s true, but at least I’ve given myself a chance to vent them, and there’s still one chapter to go – a second read-through would, I feel, give me a chance to more clearly see what is on the page, rather than just jumping directly to what could be on the page.

I mean there’s the issue of time and stuff, but honestly I know I can work far faster than I’ve been doing up to this point; last year I had a massive paradigm-shift in how productive I was because I introduced structure into my work ethic (a shocking correlation, I know), and through the Writing While Writing initiative I’m now almost compelled to do work on my project every single day. Being sick is compromising my stamina, yes, but it would be folly to sacrifice the body for the sake of the art that it can potentially produce. I need to be smart about when I work, is what I’m saying. There’s no point in revising or drafting if I’m not lucid or clear-minded enough to be working at peak performance. Also I actually want to get healthy again, and stress via overworking is kind of not the best way to go about that.

And also staring at computer screens is not helping my face-imploding sensations, and I do all of my revision on a computer, because, well, I do. I might try the old pen-and-paper approach with the next project, or even the next draft, but since I’ve almost finished my notes anyway it seems silly to switch over to an entirely different medium just for the sake of avoiding electronic stimulus for a few hours.

Actually maybe that doesn’t seem silly. Maybe that seems smart.

Ugh I don’t know.

What I do know is that I’m excited about getting to do some actual writing again once I’ve got a plan for draft 2. This is going to be interesting, because I tend to not gel with pre-planned structure when it comes to writing something. Or, rather, the last time I did it was a really long time ago – like, wow, eight years – and it felt like a fluke, albeit a fluke that I stuck with for almost a year. So obviously I can do it. And having a stronger structure will help this story a lot; it’ll provide a strong skeleton to prop up the flesh.

But it is the flesh that concerns me, and the reason I want to do this second read-through, so that I can take in more of the content now that I’ve taken care of how it’s presented. Although perhaps that’s something to save for draft 3. I’m working off what I hear other writers do with their drafts by putting structure first, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing to do. I suppose I’m just getting a bit hung-up about it not being ‘my style’, but then again I’ve never gotten this far with writing a book before, so I hardly know what ‘my style’ even is at this point in the process, so there’s no harm in trying what’s worked for other people.

And at some point the structure does have to come in. And again, I think it’ll be for the better when it does. I do like structure, in the sense that I enjoy the feeling that I’m ‘playing the game’. There is something to be said for the satisfaction that can come with being an effective replicator.

Having said that, I do now think that I’ll leave that second read-through until draft 2 is done. Once the structure is there, I’ll have something to embellish and decorate and enfleshen.

Enfleshen. I like that.

The other thing I’m worried about is the fact that I want to add new stuff to draft 2 that isn’t there at all in draft 1. It’s stuff that fulfills certain roles that are not filled by what I’ve provided myself with in draft 2, so even if these are not the appropriate additions to bring in, additions will need to be brought in, of that there is no question.

I mean I think they do …

Argh. A second read-through could help me with that! But yeah, I am pretty sure that I don’t have a whole story here just with the parts I’ve got – I have a lot of a story, which is great, and to be fair, yeah, I could take what I’ve got and turn it into a story just with clever editing and reshuffling. But I don’t think it’d be the story I want to tell. There is a lot of disparity between what I wrote and what I had in mind; that’s fine, and the idea I had was not a complete picture anyways, but I would like to bring the two of them closer together.

I do want to see if I can get away with adding in very little, though. A lot of it is just expansion on stuff that’s already there, which I don’t really count, but there is one big sequence I like the idea of that isn’t in there in any form, and thus I’d be bringing it in out of nowhere. That’s the part I’m worried about, because it will be the first draft of that scene mixed into the body of the second draft.

Oh well. Only one way to find out I guess. While I won’t be doing revision tonight, I will probably finish up The Hunger Games. It’s hard to put down, so judging by that I’ll say that I’m really enjoying it. I mean I also like Katniss and the premise and the little twist on the love-triangle that’s going on, even though I hear it gets less subversive as the books go on, which does not sound to my liking. But I’m invested now, so I will try and read them all before the next film comes out. Revision can wait until tomorrow, by which time I will, hopefully, have gotten some freaking sleep.

I hope I’m doing the right thing. But since I can’t know that, I hope I’m doing what I really want to do. I guess that’s the most important thing, because that’s the only thing I can know for sure.

I really want to not be sick. That’s what I really want …


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