Here Be Lions
Posted on May 2, 2016
Or sea serpents. Or dragons. Uncharted waters. That’s what I plunged myself into. I’m spending this summer in San Francisco to rewrite my novel. It’s not San Francisco, the uncharted waters, but the solitude I seek. I’m hoping to be able to concentrate fully on this story and bring my writing to the next level. A level I think I need to forward my career here in the US after some setbacks.
It’ll be hard without my loved ones, but we’re all dedicated to making this work. So I checked into a tiny but adorable studio in San Francisco’s Tenderloin district to write and take in the San Francisco vibes, to listen to the noises floating up from the street, to observe the homeless scurrying around the church across the street.
When I need more silence, I will be writing from the Mechanics’ Institute Library, just a block or two away from my temporary home and a recommendation from Jim Averbeck. He also recommended a really – no honestly a REALLY! – cool place on the beach where you can write. The beach is where the final scenes of my story take place and it would kick ass to write those scenes there.
Two words are key for this summer and engraved in my brain: Robust Revision.
That is what my friend Emma Dryden calls it and I’ve got her notes right by my side. ‘Do not fall in love with your writing and story at the first draft,’ Emma says. I did not fall in love and I am ready to kill some darlings. Take a cool down period, is her second advice. I stayed away from the novel for six weeks, while my critique buddies went through it with a red pen. I’m now assessing their (pages!) feedback to decide what I will use and what not, what will make the story stronger and more compelling and what would steer it into a direction I might not want to explore (talk about uncharted waters…).
The muse? I haven’t seen him yet. I think he got lost somewhere in the foggy mist that is my jet-lagged brain. I’m sure he will pop up, though. He always does when I need some good old inspiration.