Posted on 10 July 2013

After I finished the first draft of my novel a few months ago, I closed the file with the promise that it would remain in the dark for a while. I need to give the book a breather and return to it only when the words and story have become at least somewhat unfamiliar to me.

And then yesterday, even though I’m not ready yet to read the entire novel and begin revisions, I opened the file. I printed the manuscript, all 186 single-spaced pages, and then I flipped to the end and let myself read the last paragraph.

I don’t remember writing that paragraph. I barely remember writing the end of the novel at all. Already all the smallest plot details and character developments that took me to that last paragraph feel cloudy and vague, a very long distance from where I stand today.

This isn’t a bad thing. Even if I don’t remember the decisions and planning that led to those words I wrote back in May, they feel true to me now. They fit my vision for the book. The ending exists exactly as it should, at least as much as it can at this point in the process.

And I don’t even remember writing it.

What do you remember and what do you forget?

Image: Pringle Hill

1 Response to Unfamiliar

  • I don’t remember a goddamned thing. I forget how many times I’ve used that good line. I forget whether the paragraph I wrote in version 2 has already been cut and pasted into version 3. Should this ever make it to a copyeditor, she is going to love me. (The cobbler’s children go without shoes.)

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