it has been a little over a year now since i started talassio, and always, always the first third was problematic, just as the book was in a sense the problematic section of the overall project. i had no love for it when i started, because everything that excited me about the project in the first place happens in paris, aka the next book. to write out a bunch of backstory that i already knew? boring.
except i didn’t already know the backstory, not all of it. and as i wrote and rewrote, and figured out little details i hadn’t even anticipated, filled in minor character arcs and logistics, those little changes started having domino effects throughout the project, all the way to the very last chapter (which i have written out, like some far-off goalpost.) talassio grew fuller and fatter and almost like a Real Story, and i was starting to really like the italy sections.
but oh, that first third in england? dead prose. pretty, but utterly corpselike.
so i have been hacking and hacking at england, all summer. even on the flights to and from milan, it was the england section that was in my head, how to make it move, how to kick it all off with something more than a weary shrug and no other choice to be had. not too much more, not some fiery action movie exit, but a real provocation that says go now.
and i think i have it. i think i do. though right now it’s hard to see the forest for the trees . . .
i should finish this weekend what i just realized is the fifth distinct version of this opening section. basically, i have rewritten a novella’s worth of words five times.
i am Tired.
fifth time’s the charm?
or as neil gaiman said (i think i’ve quoted this before, but at this point i want a sampler made of it so i can hang it behind my computer because my inspiration is so fitful these days):
You have to write when you’re not inspired. And you have to write the scenes that don’t inspire you. And the weird thing is that six months later, a year later, you’ll look back at them and you can’t remember which scenes you wrote when you were inspired and which scenes you just wrote because they had to be written next.