How to edit a novel

  1. Print out the whole draft, marveling at all the words you conjured out of nothing.
  2. Read through it. Make notes as you go along: mark where the structure is illogical, where the characters are acting OOC, cross out the stream-of-consciousness filler, and don’t forget to add lots of question marks in the margins.
  3. Despair.
  4. Go back to your original document. Start making changes.
  5. Fiddle around with the structure until it’s more logical and/or interesting, starting with the first chapter.
  6. Flesh out scenes. Write 500 words of descriptions you skipped the first time.
  7. Delete 1000 words of that same chapter.
  8. Despair.
  9. Force yourself to move on to the next chapter, even though the previous one is still hella flawed.
  10. Repeat 5-9.
  11. Get lost in the chapter with the worst structure and content so far. Stare at your piece of shit document for hours on end.
  12. Despair.
  13. Move scenes forward in the novel. If you build it up more slowly, it will be better and more logical. Of course, now you’ll have to write a lot of new scenes in-between.
  14. Scenes, new scenes. You can figure this out.
  15. Get a drink.
  16. Or two.
  17. Stare at the document for several more hours and hours until your eyes are burning out of your skull.
  18. Force the words out, all words, any words. Scenes are made out of words, right?
  19. Read what you’ve written the following day. Delete 75% of the chapter.
  20. Despair.
  21. Repeat 14-20.
  22. You’ve been working on the same chapter for two weeks, haven’t you?
  23. Is the prospect of the remaining 23 chapters giving you panic attacks yet?
  24. Twenty-three, twenty-three, will the end ever come in sight?
  25. Why did you ever write a novel?
  26. Why did you ever think you should be a writer?
  27. You should have gone to medical school like the other smart, privileged kids.

Short story – Rapunzel

Very short retelling of (a part of) the story of Rapunzel, written for a contest.

“A prince came by the tower today.” Rapunzel sat in the high circular room with the witch. She brushed out the witch’s long dark hair, always tangled from her adventures in the forest.
“Is that so?” The witch looked at Rapunzel’s reflection in the mirror. Rapunzel pretended not to notice.
“Yes,” she said. “He came right up to the wall and called to me.” Rapunzel took another lock of dark hair in her hand. “He said the same thing that you do, in a rather high-pitched voice.” She brushed the lock from the bottom. “Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. Like I would be fooled so easily.”
The witch laughed. “I would be disappointed in you if you were. What did you do about him?”
“I told him to leave.” Rapunzel continued brushing. “He got flustered by that. You don’t understand, he said. I’ve come to save you.” She raised her face. Her eyes and the witch’s met in the mirror. “I told him, No, you don’t understand. I don’t need to be saved.”
“That’s my girl.” The witch turned around.
Smiling, Rapunzel put the brush down. She leaned forward to give the witch a long, deep kiss.

01:41

remember when you wanted to be like henry miller?
or even bukowski?
just live on the fringes
no money
no prospects
just uncertainty
adventure
& the typewriter
or the more modern equivalent of a typewriter
no material bullshit
only truth
like christopher mccandles
quoted from thoreau
remember?
such yearning for a core meaning of existence
overrun by one for comfort & pretty things
always comfort & pretty things
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is more to life
there is
more