So, I’ve finally finished Dark Moon. Again. For those of you unfamiliar with the story of me and this book, I’ll share. It started over a game when I was nine and evolved into a story idea too irresistable to ignore. I spent several years writing the first draft (if only I could find that original looseleaf!) that I finished when I was twelve. I still look back on that first effort, half plagiarized in the innocent and confused way of children, and cringe. Full of uninspired names, vomit-worthy plot “twists”, and every cliche I could pack into 58 pages, it was the masterpiece of someone delusional. But it was my first long work, and though I may cringe, I still feel a little pride to know that I wrote something then that has evolved into what I now call my first novel. From that first version from 2002 came the much more reasoned effort that was finished in 2004. Since then, seven more versions of the book have cluttered up my hard drive. The first was meant to be the last, the second a simple edit, the third a list of very important revisions, and then the game was on. Any writer plagued by perfectionism knows the peculiarly feverish joy of stamping out extra adverbs, cutting and pasting paragraphs, changing names ten times and then changing them back. Every time the nagging thought that “This isn’t good enough” would strike, up would be a new version. My friends and family would groan, but I would tell them only, “I had to. It was necessary.”
So you will forgive them their assured skepticism now, when I tell you that version 7–if I can curb my enthusiasm for reworking, the last version until it crosses the eyes of an editor–is complete. Oh, the random edit here and there may find its way onto the page, but I here vow not to open Darkmoon v8.
Unless it really, really needs it.
In the spirit of a happy conclusion, I give you an excerpt from what everyone I know (I’m sure) can only hope will be the final revision. Enjoy. Next stop: actually finishing those short stories…and finding a good literary magazine that accepts pieces with 8000+ words. Eep.
P.S. I also vow never to write a blog entry at 3:50 am again. Though =/= Thought. Excepts =/= Accepts. 3:50 am =/= the proper time for blog writing. Oh dear.
With exaggerated niceness, Lena drawled, “Oh yes, great Trent, please forgive my—what is that!” Her eyes popped. Behind Trent, standing stiffly next to her desk, was the man. The same stark coloring, the same electric eyes. With a cry, Lena clutched her hands to her head. A pang shot through it like someone had cracked a hammer between her eyes.
“What? Lena, what’s wrong?”
“There, behind you, idiot!”
Trent seemed to look directly at the man, but when he turned back around he was chewing his lip. “Lena,” he said lowly, “there’s nothing there. Is this what happened at school?”
“You kidding? There’s a—” She nearly choked. In the space of one blink, the man had vanished. The intense pounding in her head had dulled to a low throb. She breathed raggedly.
“Lena, once is an accident. Twice is something serious. Maybe we should call the doctor.”
“Says the boy who almost got himself killed ‘cause he didn’t tell anyone he was hurt ‘til his appendix almost blew up.”
“Are you taking something?”
“Just tired,” she insisted. The last thing she needed was her parents thinking she was crazy.
Eyebrows knit, voice low, she growled, “You so much as hint to mom and dad and you’re dead.”
Trent stretched out across her bed and threw his head back with a loud scoff. “God, I’m not going to tell them. But you need to take it easy.” The scowl broke and he laughed quietly. “Yeah, little sis, you could definitely beat me up. Look at those muscles.” He poked a finger into one of her arms.
She scowled. “You’re such a loser. I don’t need muscles to punch you in the nose.”
“Yeah, yeah, just try.”
That dissolved into a very one-sided fight starting with Lena throwing a halfhearted punch at Trent’s shoulder and ending with Trent putting her into a headlock until she sighingly proclaimed that he was the coolest and most accomplished of the Angeleses. Still, when he left her room, Trent told her pointedly that if she started seeing invisible things again he was bringing her to the doctor, in a straightjacket if necessary. Lena grimaced, knowing that even though Trent would keep their talk to himself, he would not forget it. When she went to sleep that night her head still pulsed like a whole baseball team had used it for batting practice and for the first time in years, she pulled out her old night light and plugged it in, just in case she awoke in the night to a pair of soulless violet eyes.