What's funny is that the story I'm writing now--in blocks of 1000 words or so-- is part of what could be the prequel to The Book of Generations, if such a thing existed, and I wonder if perhaps writing it isn't part of my revision process. I wonder if writing the new story is necessary for me to move forward with the novel itself. Maybe I need the background of that precursor sorted out in order to better put this first book together. But that's always been the problem with Generations, too. Deciding what information is necessary, and what isn't.
Something else that's funny to me, as I revise and reread, is that the part of the book I like the least is the part of the book that my readers so far have loved the most. I'm not sure what this means, or what to make of this information, or what to do with it at all. My personal feelings about that part of the book--a reimagining of Creation-- were mostly those of relief to be done with it, after I finished writing. It wasn't that I felt it was poorly written, or that the story wasn't compelling, but it felt more to me like necessary information that had to be there, as opposed to the story I was most interested in telling. It's the foundation for the book, without which the rest makes much less sense, and is much less dramatic. I guess I can see how for a reader, coming to the material for the first time, it could be exciting, but for me it was always just background. It wasn't the point. I wonder how many other authors encounter this?
But that's part of what I love about writing and reader response. I love getting glimpses of the story through the eyes of my readers, and seeing what they think is important, what they love, what they hate. Virginia Woolf says:
...the only meanings that are worth anything in a work of art are those the artist himself knows nothing about. The moment the artist tries to express his ideas and his emotions he misses the great thing.In my revisions, I must be sure to keep those words in mind.