A while ago, CricketB asked in the comments whether I liked writing, and it turned out there were many parts I didn’t like. Well, this is the part I like: the revised string quartet novel is finished (in draft form) and I’m holding the whole thing in my brain.
Betsy Lerner described this in her amazing book The Forest For The Trees, but she described it from an editor’s point of view: that while editing, the editor holds the whole story in his or her head and shifts pieces of it around, makes connections of one part with another, and dry-runs changes before suggesting them to the author.
While my perspective is similar, I think it’s more intense. I’ll find a moment in chapter three that now connects beautifully with a moment in chapter twenty-six, if only I invert the phrasing of a sentence. I’ll notice that the actions of a particular character in Situation A are echoed by the actions of another character in Situation B, and decide how to highlight the differences or emphasize the similarities.
In other words, it feels as if every neuron is firing at the same time, nibbling at the giant structure of ♥My Book♥ all at the same time from every direction. It’s literary electricity. Who knows? Maybe God felt this way when giving life to other creatures for the first time. In my own world, this is as close as I can get.
It’s the moment when ♥My Book♥ becomes something more like ♥♥♥My Book!!♥♥♥ and I, unfortunately, become insufferable.
It’s both sad and lucky that this phase lasts only until my beta-readers point out that amazingly, the manuscript has flaws. (No, really!) And yes, I’ve gotten my first feedback already (still in the market for more if any of my betas want a crack at it) so I’m slightly less overwhelmingly in love. But I’m still nibbling at the book, turning it over, shaking it up like a snowglobe and being please with what I’ve made.
God said when He was done that it was very good. I’ll settle down at “This is editable.” But for now, my characters have lit up my brain.