Tuesday, March 13, 2007

No Survivors

My good friend Richard Anderson coached me through some tried-and-true techniques to find lost documents, but sometimes a ship goes down with all hands and all you can do is throw a wreath on the water and sing Nearer My God to Thee.

That is, the first 80 pages of my novel disappeared, and all the corrections and edits from the last month with it. So I began to re-edit tonight. I'm not going to say the loss was a good thing, but I did finally come up with a solution to a narrative problem in the first chapter. Maybe it really wasn't a problem, but we need to feel that something positive can come from ill.

And if Leslie Fiedler is right, the loss doesn't matter at all. In one of his books on American literature, he says that the lesson of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Gone with the Wind" is that there is fine writing and that there is good storytelling, and that it's the good storytelling that gets the readers. I haven't changed my basic story in the last 25 years. My hero trips and goes bouncing down the stairs ass over elbows. That story line is still intact, even if my hero isn't.

No comments: