Wednesday, June 9, 2010

WIP Wednesday: Oh, Revisions, Where Art Thou?

As I often do after writing a longer piece (this time, Borrowed Saints), I've attacked short story mode with a kind of rabid fervor. I now have five (well, almost five) competed first (or second) drafts in need of revisions...some major, some minor. I also need to put the finishing polish on that 15K novella.

I usually like revising, but the ideas just keep coming of late, and I don't want to slow down. I'm also trying to let my stories sit longer. I want them to be masterpieces. I want their wings to be firm and sure when I push them out of the nest.

I promise I'll revise once I finish my current story. Promise.*

From "The First Girl I Ever Loved":

The town is dying, but I’m compelled to drive every street, revisit every corner on which I shared history with Megan. Share history with Megan. The same old men sit in overstuffed chairs in the first floor reading room of the local library. The building is the same, I’m sure, but smaller. Perhaps, like the old men, the building has withered with age. They turn their bulbous, shiny eyes toward me, and their mouths open, stretching the slick, rubbery skin of their lips. Each holds up a braid of Megan’s hair as I pass through. They all have one, and use the strands as placeholders in their books. She kissed me for the first time—the only time—while we studied for a physics exam on the second floor, and I can still smell her under the spoil of old skin and moldy books. I enter through the back of the library and leave through the front, hesitating only to raise a hand in greeting to the old men.

Notice the odd tense shift in the passage? I'm playing with reality here, and this is only a tiny taste. I hope it works because I have big dreams for this one. Honesty is coming easier these days...just not revising.

*note the author crosses his fingers as he types this, which makes it damn hard to type

10 comments:

Erin Cole said...

I like your reference to writes gaining strength in their wings before you push them from the nest - lovely; they'll either soar, coast, or, hopefully not flop!

Andrea Allison said...

Interesting. I think I see where you're going with this. Braids of hair as bookmarks. I guess it's better than a piece of flesh.

If you manage to find the revision bug, could you please send it my way. I'm willing to deal with the itchy rash as long as I can get through a few rounds of edits.

Cate Gardner said...

One should always have big dreams.

Aaron Polson said...

Erin - In my imagination, they're all flying.

Andrea - There is this old lady with a bag of her bones later...

Cate - The biggest. If only reality meshed with my dreams.

katey said...

Revising requires nearly as much inspiration as writing sometimes. I don't know, in my experience, the longer I'm able to keep away from revisions, the better I feel about them in the end. Of course there's a point after which it actually becomes a BAD idea to wait any longer...

But it's far away.

Loved the little taste of it. The style is complex, but in an unpretentious way that's awesome for readability. Looking forward to hearing more about that one.

Alan W. Davidson said...

I hadn't noticed the tense shift until you mentioned it. Upon re-reading the passage I discovered it. That works well for memories and it's not intrusive or distracting.

I'm really curious about the braid of hair being used as bookmarks by the old men...

K.C. Shaw said...

I didn't notice the tense change either until I went back and reread. It does help give the passage a dreamy, shifting feel without being in-your-face about it. Nice. :)

K.Hinny said...

Very lovely blurb Aaron. Keep doing what feels right and the revisions will follow when they're ready :D

Dream big or go home man!
Happy writing

Aaron Polson said...

Katey - I'd shoot myself before sounding pretentious. (wait...that almost sounds pretentious--shit)

Alan - Little braids with beads on the ends, my friend.

K.C. - I'm going for dreamy/shifting, so huzzah!

Hinny - You too.

Danielle Ferries said...

Revising. It's an ugly word sometimes.