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Ups and Downs


Rewrite is a freaking roller-coaster. I am in the middle of the second draft of Belongingness, and I can’t tell from minute to minute whether I’ll be laughing or crying. I read a page and nod appreciatively. “What a piece of inspired prose!” I think, modestly. “What totally credible dialogue. What insight into human motivation! Who is this genius?”


Three pages later I think about opening the door to my gas oven so I can rid the literary world of a pathetic and talentless imposter. How could I have put these words in Cody’s mouth? What a dull gray-green viscous slime trail of descriptive writing! How come I did not notice the mis-matched layers of metaphor chasing each other off the page, stacked in slow circles over the airport, only to gatecrash the party together, arm in arm? How come?


The book is improving. I’ve added foreshadowing, so that the snaky plot twists that struck out of the blue in the last draft (because I had just thought of them) now give a warning rattle, making it appear as though I knew what I was doing all along. And I’m losing some of the over-complicated writing. Not all of it – I still want readers to work a bit. For me, reading is a kind of vacation, but not every vacation involves lying on a beach. Paris is a vacation too. (I’m probably giving myself too much credit there: Glasgow can be a vacation too; or Vientiane; or Moose Jaw. Can you guess the city in the picture? Hint: not Paris.)


Anyway, it’s been a while since I let y’all know how it’s going. This is how it’s going. More in a few days when (if) I finish.

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Richard Scrimger | scrimgerr@gmail.com | Toronto, ON, Canada