How Bradbury’s advice is coming in handy

I’m coming, once again, into the final heat of my novel. It’s a space I feel like I’ve been a thousand times already, which is funny, really, and a situation you’ll see the humor/irony in once you’ve read it. I’ve realized it needs a bit of restructuring, consolidation here and re-chaptering there, and I know there are now three key elements to write (after which, it’s mostly just pruning).

But I feel like I got it last time. The last draft, reading it (and writing it, for that matter), felt like an epiphany. Felt like the first time I really understood the story I was trying to tell, and what it was about (what? I’m dense like that sometimes).

I think part of the issue was that the story changed so hard between the first draft and one I wrote just as I started graduate school; not just because my writing improved, but also because of September 11th, which is somewhat significant in the story. The book itself is set on October 31, 2001, so the world is still, in a way, feeling the impact of those planes, and, in many ways, hasn’t yet understood how it will continue to be affected.

And now at the real end. Because I’ve realized that it’s time to move on. After this draft, I’ve said all I can of this story. I’m going to finish before the end of the month, and then next month will be devoted to job searching and submissions, two process which, I think, probably share a lot in common. I’m also going to finish a couple of short stories I’ve been thinking of, and then . . .

Well, lots. There’s a lot I’m uncertain of, considering the next project, considering what forms they may take, considering a lot of things, but then again, there’s a little voice in the back of my head I imagine as spoken by a sweet old man with giant spectacles and the sort of mischievous grin only someone familiar with magic can pull off, and he’s whispering in my ear, “Just sit down and write write write.”

As advice goes, I’m not sure there’s better at this point.

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