28 September 2012

Another One Bites the Dust

Filed under: Fiction, Reflections — ktismatics @ 11:35 am

Or maybe I’ve always been in the desert, waiting.

That didn’t take long. Twelve days ago I finished writing/editing a new novel. In my self-congratulatory post I said that I expected to move straight on to the next book, which meant revisiting a text that I’d written ten years ago. That earlier book had originally been written in five parts, alternating between present and past, between France and America. Two years ago I split this book up. I took the two American parts, shuffled them around, and added a lot of new material in order to come up with what I envisioned as the first book in a series. Now for the fifth installment in the series I’ve gone back to the three French parts of the old manuscript. In reading it through I was pleased to discover that the French story holds together nicely even after excising the American “back story.” I did some minor editing and cleaned up the sutures where I’d performed my radical removal surgeries on the old text. That left me with 72K words — a bit short, but 12K longer than the novel I just finished writing. Yesterday I added a very short final chapter linking this old/new book with the one to follow. This morning I had second thoughts about the new ending, so I wrote a second, even shorter one. Then I wrote a third, shorter still. The fourth and the fifth alternative endings are each only one sentence long. I’ve decided to leave all the endings in place for now, awaiting further developments in the as-yet unwritten book to follow. The quote at the top of this post is the fifth ending, which is also the last sentence in the book.

So that’s the fifth book down, and the seventh one is already written. The one in between, the sixth book, will require more thought and the cultivation of a higher level of intensity. I’m not quite sure what I need to do to get ready for it. To tell the truth, it scares me a little.


1 Comment »

  1. I took my first shot at starting book six today, and as of right now it seems like a good start. Yesterday I came up with a five-part structure for the book, with Part One being a kind of cavalcade or curtain call for a lot of minor characters and situations that appeared briefly in the first five books. So I went back to the first book, which begins in a bar like this. The barista is wearing a medallion based on this sidewalk stencil. So for the tentative beginning of the new book I riffed on the guy in the bar ogling the barkeep, engaging her in a discussion of her medallion. 600 words I’ve got on that, which ought to be enough for my purposes. Tomorrow I’ll flip ahead in book one looking for some other minor point to work into a fragment of a story. If all goes well I’ll come up with maybe 5 story fragments from each of the first 5 books. Having just read Bolaño’s 2666 helps me think about building a loosely structured string of microstories, because that’s what he does in the middle and most impressive part of that book.


    Comment by ktismatics — 3 October 2012 @ 3:46 pm

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