I’m still struggling with the first section of The Next Novel. Putting scenes under a microscope, I realize how much I’ve left unsaid ? unimagined.

How exactly do they get into the city? By what route?
Do they need papers?
What are they wearing?
What are they seeing, experiencing, feeling?
Where will they stay the night?
How will they lock up their things?
What about the donkey! Doesn’t she need food and water?

On one level the revision process has to do with the big picture: the movement of energy from one scene to another. On another level it has to do with the little picture, the microscopic view, with bringing scenes to life through detail. Both are the work of the 3rd draft.

I often think of Ariel Gore’s summation of the writing process: lather and rinse, lather and rinse. I’m at a lather stage, but I wish it were that easy. It feels, instead, like crawling through a story, groping in the dark. It can be painstaking, and often, for me, requires quite a bit of research. It’s slow going ? but then, as I’ve said many times before, beginnings are the hardest.