Project 2016 continues to be an on-going struggle.
Lately, I've been looking back over the responses to my queries. I still have a couple outstanding, but the responses so far have been nos. A couple of them have been form rejections, but the ones that have had even one non-form line have suggested that I've got something here--there's something about this project that has potential. It's just not quite clicking.
So, this has sent me back to the drawing board, so to speak. I've started another round of revisions on the project. The plan was to make a few tweaks. The structure of the story itself is pretty sound. There were a couple of big things that needed to be done--blank page rewrite on chapter 1, add a chapter in the first act, change a setting in act two. But I figured most of the revisions would be pretty small. Manageable.
As has been the trend with this project, I underestimated.
The thing that I've learned in this past year--the year that I started diving in to writing as a craft and as a pursuit in earnest--is that the writer that I am changes over the course of time.
I wrote the bulk of Evin in 2011. It was absolutely the best book I could write at that time. But, if I sat down with the intent to tell the same story today, I wouldn't end up with the same book. I can even see changes in my writing style between Evin and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," which was written in 2014.
Changes in writing style over three years might not seem so surprising. What's been more striking is the changes I've seen in the way I write in this one year.
I wrote the first draft of the manuscript that I'm currently revising this past November. In the time since I wrote the draft, I've done a couple major revisions, written two short stories for anthologies, and done small writing exercises that were more for practice than anything else. I don't write every day, but I spend several hours a week engaged in my writing--actually drafting or building or outlining a scene in my head (or on my phone, as the case has been a couple of times).
That time spent with the work makes a difference.
When I did the blank-page rewrite of chapter one, the strategies I used were completely different. My focus was in a different place. Certainly, part of this was the fact that I knew the story better this time around, but it's impossible to discount the amount of time I've spent learning about writing and practicing what I learned.
This was great for the chapter rewrite. But it's turned into A Thing as far as the rest of the revisions are concerned.
I'm still working my way through act one. There have been a couple of chapters that I've only tweaked. But there have already been chapters that have moved from the "light revision" category to the "start it over" one.
The writer I am now isn't satisfied with some of what the writer I was before did.
This isn't a problem, really. In the end, the writer I am now is better than the writer I was earlier this year and late last year. Reworking parts of the project is letting me get closer to the story, the world, and the characters as they exist in my head. It's a good thing in the long run.
The theme with the work on project 2016 has been "this is getting out of hand." But I think, really, that's what a project like this should do.