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June 11, 2006

Novel Drafts

Just a thought from yesterday:

My first draft was entirely to please myself; that is, to please and satisfy my sense of what the draft should become. To discover what the novel was going to be and let that become itself. Which is to say, the novel is me, a 3.5-year-long exposure snapshot of the inside of that portion of my head/soul. Something like that. I don't know. I don't know!

My second draft, so far, seems to be about taking care of a prospective audience. Not pandering to them, taking care of them. The first draft was planning the cruise to the Cape of Good Hope. So far now I'm seeing to it that the passengers aren't seasick and the shuffleboard decks are sanded. I'm building cabanas next to the pool and pointing out the schools of dolphins, and, of course, fitting the prow with steel to cut through those troublesome, unexpected mid-Atlantic ice-floes. If later on, someone comes and said they had rather we went to Greenland, or wish we'd flown instead, I'll invite them to my cabin for dinner, but no more. I'll do everything I can to make them comfortable, but if they don't want this cruise, I have some real estate to offer, right there, at the end of that short plank.

Fascinating, learning to write a novel.

(Plus, you know the cruise ship metaphor? That would have nothing to do with reading Naomi Novik. Nothing at all.)


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