Last-minute homework

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It’s Wednesday evening, about an hour before bedtime.

Thursday night is writer’s group, and I don’t have anything to read out — yet.  All I have is a brain full of imagery and similes, mental notes on the rewrite of the first draft of a novel I wrote over ten years ago, and I need to commit them to paper sometime in the next twenty hours.

For me this is a familiar pattern that goes all the way back to elementary school, a long period of hemming and hawing, playing with ideas and generally goofing off.  At some point, usually within 24 hours of a deadline, there’s a manic sprint as I pour all that brain sludge through a filter and onto the pages of the final copy.  I generally got quite acceptable grades, so something was going on behind the scenes when I was avoiding doing my homework.  I’m hoping the same thing holds true for this writing assignment I’ve given myself.

The story I’m trying to rewrite is a problem child.  It was composed during National Novel Writing Month, when writing is encouraged but editing is right out.  I ended up with an epic science fiction/fantasy comedy-adventure with a great ending, but it needed a bit of work.

For one thing, the dramatis personae are completely out of hand and I’ve had to start handing out pink slips to the characters.  So far I’ve expelled one girlfriend and one Bodhisattva.  Two groups of dragons have to be unified into a more coherent mob, which requires writing a new backstory for one of the major wyrms.  I need a better explanation for the Pleiadian Space Cats showing up, and a much better explanation for the various Norse gods.  Marduk and Tiamat can stay, and Tiamat’s love interest is a keeper.  I may have to cut the skateboarding penguins.  The guys from the CIA need a back story, the female protagonist needs to be more of a bitch, and while she’s at it she can probably teach that art to the male protagonist too —

— Right.  (rolls up sleeves)  I think I’ll start by having him get into an argument with a Klingon in a bathtub.



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