The voices on my shoulder
Itâ€™s about at this point in a first draft that the voices are getting hard to ignore. Not the voices of the charactersâ€”although yes, some of those are more real than the voices of my actual familyâ€”but the voices reminding me of all the things this manuscript doesnâ€™t do.
Thereâ€™s no real sense of the villain here, the internal critics say. (Yes, but that will come with the excerpt from the journals, which I havenâ€™t written yet.)
Youâ€™re writing about airplanes in 1924. You know nothing about airplanes, even in 2008. (But, I have several names of people who do.)
Yet again you major plot elements depending on rail schedules, although you havenâ€™t the faintest idea when those trains went there, do you? (Again, I have a Name!)
And what about the bee thing? You donâ€™t have that sorted yet, do you, even though itâ€™s the title of the damn book? (No, but thereâ€™s a guy right down the road whoâ€¦)
Are we sensing a theme here? Is it that Laurieâ€™s first drafts are absurdly incomplete and utterly unreadable?
Well, yes. On the other hand, it exists. Itâ€™s a nearly-there draft of a novel, with a beginning, a muddle, and an end. (And no, thatâ€™s not a typo.) I can see the central theme, and feel how it ties in to the minor themes and the events themselves, and although a theme is not a story and probably wonâ€™t even be detectable to anyone but me and one or two very analytic readers, itâ€™s important to me, for the future decisions that support it. And there are two or three scenes that make me smile and will probably need no changes whatsoever (Wheeâ€”maybe ten pages in the whole thing will need only minor tweaks of vocabulary and timing and information andâ€¦)
At this point, even the voices of criticism have to admit, my List of Things To Do is first-rate.