Despite binge watching Netflix programs (I keep threatening to cancel my subscription, but then I don’t, because another series grabs me — I blame Titus Andromedon), in January I still managed to finish several books, abandon a few others, and even revise 50+ pages on my current WIP.
What I really need is a good blizzard, but that doesn’t look like happening this month, as per last fall’s predictions from The Old Farmer’s Almanac. Meanwhile, here’s where I am:
Books read: Sara Pennypacker, Pax (about a pet fox released into the wild — lovely, read it if you haven’t already done so). Julian Barnes, Sense of an Ending. Helene Tursten, An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good (how often does a reader root for the murderer?). Cynthia Rylant, I Had Seen Castles. E.B. White, Here Is New York. Debbie Macomber, Trading Christmas (set in Leavenworth, Washington, near where I spent December 2016 — my only reason for getting through this Harlequin Romance — but if this were the only type of book I liked, I could finish one a day). John le Carré, A Legacy of Spies (another George Smiley book). J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit and The Fellowship of the Ring (prepping for big exhibit at Morgan Library, more on that at a later date). Julia Child, My Life in France.
Books abandoned: Tolkien, Kullervo (I may give this another try, but not soon). Carrie Fisher, Princess Diarist (during which I discovered I’m not interested in Hollywood tell-alls — yay me!). Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (set in Jamaica in the 1970s, this requires more intestinal fortitude than I can muster right now — I’ll give it another try, during happier times, if we ever find them again). Meg Cabot, The Princess Diaries (if I hadn’t just read that Harlequin Romance, I might have been able to finish this — sorry, Meg Cabot fans, but I couldn’t handle Mia’s voice — more evidence that I’m no longer a teenager). Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Julie Powell, Julie and Julia (really, how much Julia Child does a reader need?).
My current WIP: 5 chapters revised (that’s a bit over 50 pages). At this rate, I’ll be done with the revision in (quick finger-math) about 3 years. I know what’s happening here: I get all excited about the discoveries of the first draft — characters revealing their secrets, plot twists appearing out of thin air, etc. — but too little of that happens during revision, so I really have to drag myself to the computer to do this work. Chocolate helps. Right now there are still some huge holes that offer the possibility of new discoveries (for instance, what is my villain’s motivation? and why does the protagonist’s boss assign her the job that gets her into so much trouble?), but discoveries at this point can be dangerous, requiring massive rethinking of everything. Also, I keep wavering about which story this could be a retelling of (Alban Berg’s Lulu? or Graham Green’s The Third Man? or Eric Ambler’s A Coffin for Dimitrios?).
And now that I’ve made that list, I’m starting to wonder if this WIP is actually about the villain and not the heroine.
See, that’s the kind of discovery that makes this writer want to quit.
But I won’t. The good news is that I love my MC, and she’s staying as the center of this story. Now I’m off to look at some Dutch masterpieces at the Met.