What a year it has been for For Those Who Don’t Learn From History. After using one draft four about ten pages in late-2012, ditching that, starting another draft, ditching that one too, and starting up another draft before, you guessed, ditching that one too, I more or less took a break with the novel. Not in the sense that I stopped note taking or thinking about it, but I severely struggled with how to start it.
Shit, was that hard to do.
It was first-person, then third-person, then back to first-person for a while, then back to third-person. (Spoiler: third-person won.)
Next I ran into the dilemma of starting it pre-apocalypse or post-apocalypse. Obviously, this is a post-apocalyptic novel, so why wouldn’t I start it post-apocalypse? But, I fought with the idea that, maybe, I could give more detail to character of Isaiah and less ‘in your face’ with his personality that develops over time, and should do so naturally. It was tough. It was really, really though. One of drafts I had completely tossed out was the pre-apocalypse, first-person sort of epilogue that serves purpose for the ‘true’ beginning of the story.
Nothing has been as hard, though, as trying to successfully finish my two chapters. I mean, it was hard to maintain something so, well, slow, yet to keep it interesting, relevant and something the reader will be able to connect to without putting the book down. Thank God I had written out the summary of the beginning of the book so long ago, because I quickly realized how lost I would have been.
Generally speaking, I don’t have troubles with my beginnings or my ends, but the middle. And for a while, I thought that was true. But this beginning proved to be the toughest opening of any story I have written. It isn’t because it’s necessarily busy or complex, but rather so simple that it became sort of this weird test on my writing skills. (One of which now I am so, so thankful for.)
The best thing to come out of this whole thing is I am now sixty pages in.
How? I mean, really? Sixty pages is a lot of pages. And I am so, so proud of each page. It’s truly something I am genuinely proud of, and I have never written a thing before this where I didn’t feel at least at little disappointed in my material. Fortunately, I managed to break that for this novel, and I cannot wait for you to read it. (Probably ages from now, but you get my point.)
I really just fucking love this book.