Great news. I am nearing completion of the “final” draft of my novel.
Last September, I finished a draft that I thought was 80% there. But a few threads and elements confused me, and then I began applications for PhD programmes, so I let the book stew awhile, and focused on completing short stories. This April, I began the novel again, and soon everything slotted into place.
The book has ten chapters, and this morning I began writing/re-writing/editing chapter nine. The draft should be finished in days, and then, after another read through and edit (I have a post it note covered with lines and ideas to insert into earlier chapters), I will send it out to writing partners for suggestions.
I am very excited. The good bits are really good. The dialogue and narrative voice are also, as are all the grander thoughts (about American-ness, Englishness, Taiwanese-ness, the self in modern society etc) that got me writing it in the first place. In some ways, that is the best aspect of the process–to feel that one has successfully dramatised and communicated, within the limits of one’s soul and craft, a part of one’s vision of the world.
At times, I feel anxious about the kind of book it is–I recently read The Remains of the Day, and marvelled at Ishiguro’s concision and control, especially compared to my rather anarchic, multi-thread, tragi comic cross-cultural bildungsroman–but I feel a much deeper satisfaction that I have done the best I can, and that I have done justice to Robyn and her adventures in Taiwan.
In other news: London is lovely. I will miss this city.
Housekeeping news: I am planning to do a re-design of this blog. I have long been thinking about a cleaner, less busy format, and I’m currently looking at different wordpress themes (in this world of fb and twitter, it isn’t so necessary that a blog be all things, all the time, full of links and buttons and what not–I’m looking for a way to make the pieces I post here more readable, and for the navigation to be simpler for you). However, once I pick a new theme, there will be an inevitable fiddling around stage, so if you come by and the place looks untidy, that is why. The hoover will soon be back under the stairs; the cups will be out of the sink before long.