On A Clear Day, You Can See Outside The Swamp

The swamp is not bad at the moment. I am treading water easily, or will be once the obligatory Monday Malaise is over. One major project seems to have fallen through, since t’other parties have gone incommunicado for several weeks, and so I’m left with only…four things that need to be done–two covers, c comic run, and a commission–and another two–cover and illo gig–that will start up in a coupla weeks. (I’m actually not sorry that the other one is in limbo, since it would have choked my time badly and I’d be at the bottom of the swamp breathing through a straw.)

And Digger. And, of course, The Other Thing.

Okay, fine, since I already mentioned it–the Other Thing is editing and rewriting “Black Dogs” to get it ready for publication, a Herculean task, since the appeal of my writing, (if any!) is the writing itself, not, y’know, plot and so forth. It will be a much better work when it’s done, I have every confidence–in my editors, if not myself!–but rewriting it is…kinda weird. Maybe it’s just that I’ve never done this before, not, y’know, being a writer. Maybe it’s that it’s been so long since I wrote it. I have to drag myself back into the world of the story. I think once I get into the groove and start rewriting in earnest, it’ll be a lot easier, but it’s a peculiar mental gymnastic at the moment, like trying to fit into complicated clothes that you used to know how to wear perfectly, and not quite remembering how you tie this bit, and discovering weird snaps and buckles in places that you could have sworn there wasn’t a buckle, and suddenly that ten pounds you’ve put on in the last few years is really starting to matter.*

Real writers may sail past this stage with the ease of long practice, I dunno. Art, I know.** Writing, I wanted to know, and then got sidetracked.

This is the book I wrote before I started blogging, and whatever else writing practically every day since the end of 2002 will do, it gets your voice hammered out like nobody’s business. So this is probably not the book I would write today. On the other hand, that’s probably not a bad thing–whatever I’d write today would have a lot more torturous metaphors and tend to ramble off in places, and there aren’t many novels on the market where the narrator stops halfway through a chapter and goes “What was I saying? Um…right. Er. Somewhere a dog was barking..?” Presumably the people who can stand my blog are predisposed to like that sort of thing, but I suspect it would give many editors apoplexy.

But anyway. Full-scale rewriting hasn’t kicked in yet, as we still are trying to figure out exactly what bits need to be tweaked or expanded, and expect t’occasional post about the weirdness of re-writing as it happens. No ETA at the moment–never having done this before, it may expand to swamp me utterly, or it may be a breeze. (Okay, it’ll swamp me. Nothing’s EVER a breeze…)

Until then, back to the studio!

*Exactly like when I tried to get into my old martial arts outfit at Halloween and discovered I no longer remembered how in blazes to tie up a hakama and had to look it up on the internet.

**Let me qualify this outrageously arrogant statement by saying “At least as much as anybody knows art when they’re way closer to the beginning of their careers than the end.”

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