Ha ha ha. I’m glad I’m not you guys, because I’m sure reading process posts about a novel that might never exist is not exactly thrilling. But they’re incredibly helpful for me to write. And, you know, maybe when y’all are writing and you’re struggling with how stupid the process is, you can remember that you are not alone.
Writing a novel is like tangling up a skein of yarn and then working to untangle it. Every knot undone is you crying “Why did I make this mess in the first place?” And every novel is a new set of knots tangled together in ways different from the first. The lessons from one untangling–other than the fact that it can be done–aren’t really applicable to the next.
But I am completely reenergized by switching narrators. Did I tell you that’s what I decided to do? I feel like I just may have alluded to it, being unable to say it outloud to myself because of the monumental amount of work it represented. But I’m saying it now. The narrator is switching from a slightly fictionalized me to John, the time-traveling, drug addicted, gun nut murderer. It opens with him in a whore house. Not a whore house. The whore house that lingers in the background of the novel, where there is a woman in a back room willing to do to you things you can’t ask another person to do. After the War, she’ll beat a man with a Springfield rifle, for instance.
I wrote it and I cried and I read it and I cried and I knew–yep, this is the livewire the thing has been missing.