The first draft is finished. In fact, it was finished a long time ago. During the revision process, however, I kept stopping about half-way through.
That’s a sure sign that something isn’t right with the plot. I don't know what the problem is, though, and the only thing for it at this point is to march myself out to the garden to do something productive.
The garden is a mess and I decide to tidy up. Tomato plants are scraggly, browning, pitiful. They still offer up a few sad little fruits, and so I can’t bear to end their suffering because one never knows when the Zombie Apocalypse will strike and those misshapen tomatoes will be a delicacy.
Okra pods are long enough to serve as swords. I could pull up the plants, but again … Zombie Apocalypse. One late-comer cornstalk has a tiny little ear on it, the wilting marigolds are strangling a stray pea vine. I have no idea where to start, so I walk away and leave the sorting out for another day.
But as I stop to pick the last of the purple hull peas, inspiration strikes. I know exactly what the plot needs! The answer comes from nowhere, or from the hummingbirds zipping around the petunias, or maybe from the garden goddess herself.
I rush into the house and start sorting through the manuscript, marking scenes that need to be moved and dialogue that needs to be tweaked and …
Oh dear. Suddenly I have a mess of words on scattered pages and once again I’m stuck. How do I put this puzzle back together? Do I really have to remove that scene that came so effortlessly? Surely there’s a way to make it work within the context of the book. But it’s a mess and I have no idea where to start.
So I walk away and leave the sorting out for another day.
The weather is lovely, almost like autumn. I stroll out to the garden and notice that the tomato plants are almost completely brown now. They’ve completed their life’s work and are ready to be reincarnated as compost. I clip them at the base, cut their brittle stalks into smaller pieces, pull up the cages and stack them for the winter. Pretty soon, a whole section of the garden is relatively neat and ready for a few months’ rest before spring planting.
And then the answer comes from nowhere, or from the hummingbirds zipping around the petunias, or maybe from the garden goddess herself. I know exactly how to put that book back together again! I rush into the house and start re-ordering scenes, filling out the blank spaces, connecting the dots. Pretty soon a whole section of the book is relatively neat and….