I’m in love with my new WIP. It’s actually an old one, but more on that later. I adore it. I’ve written nearly five thousand words in four days, I have a complete outline, and I’m having no trouble at all with the historical diction… yet.
I know it won’t last. Very soon I’ll be sick to death of these people and their tiresome little dramas. But at the moment, it’s great. It’s the honeymoon phase. (That other project? Oh, we’re separated. The odds that we will reconcile are getting slimmer by the minute.)
It’s an old project really because I’m finally reworking the story I sent in to Viable Paradise… eight years ago?! Good Lord. Anyway, there were two consistent themes to the critiques I received: it needed to be a novel instead of a short story, and I really needed to read more Regency fiction before attempting to rewrite it. At the time — oh, my naive younger self! — I was mostly unaware that there was an enormous body of fiction centered around the time period I’d chosen, and that these novels had a set of conventions I’d unwittingly trampled.
It was bad, y’all. I’ve looked over that draft. Ye gods, it was bad.
When I got home, I tidied the critiques into a big stack of paper, shoved them into a box in the closet, and for the most part succeeded in putting the story out of my mind. Occasionally I’d get a little blip (“hey, if throw that guy into it, I can do this…”) which I’d tuck away into my little file of notes before getting on with life. Life now included reading a lot of Regency novels, among other things. I love them; I’m so glad I blundered into that period, even if I’m now embarrassed as hell over that early draft.
Apparently I have finally internalized enough of them. Over the weekend, an outline for the entire novel-length version of the story dropped into my head. It’s sprouted a new character who’s now central to the action. A character I’d originally killed off now gets to live (another wise bit of advice from the VPers).
I’m not looking at the old draft. I don’t think I’ll try to salvage anything out of it. This version has the same atmosphere and general outline as the old one, but this time I actually feel like I know what I’m doing.
That feeling won’t last either, but in the meantime it’s nice.