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Starting 2nd Draft of HYLOZOIC

I’m getting to be like those old masters who’d paint a whole picture in grisaille before putting the colors on top. I finished Hylozoic with one more outline of the final chapter—finally it seemed clear and made sense; I could see the light through the brush and trees. Then I pasted the outline into my Novel document (as grisaille) and kept revising it until it’s the actual text.

I did the very last revisions on paper, lying out on a hilltop in Almaden Quicksilver Park near Guadalupe Reservoir. I’m tired of staying inside on these nice spring days, I feel nostalgic for the freedom I felt when I wasn’t working on this book. I gave Bosch a line to this effect in Chapter Eight: “It’s refreshing to put my life into upheaval. As a youth I dreamed of being a penniless wanderer. My small success has imprisoned me.”

So now it’s time for the second draft. I printed out the whole novel and am going through it from beginning to end.As I’ve mentioned before, I’m always shocked how very many things I find to correct. It feels good, like picking scabs off your skin or sanding a peeling wall. But for me there’s always an element of anxiety as well. Is it fixable? Are the changes ever going to converge?

I correct at various levels. Some of the things I deal with: avoiding overuse of the same word, making it clear who’s talking both by attirbution and by editing their style of speech, making harmonious phrasing by mentally reciting each sentence aloud and fixing rhythms and alliteration, putting in smooth segues so the reading flows without a hitch, supplying character’s motivation and showing it in their expressions and pauses, balancing underexplanation vs. overexplanation, livening up dialog so it’s fun to hear, toning down my overly idiosyncratic and ranting viewpoints, foreshadowing things to come for a unified effect while makings sure the more startling plot turns are still a surprise, ferreting out and reparing any logic flaws or science inconsistencies, checking the time sequencing and “stage blocking” of characters in space and time, putting in plenty of ambient descriptions of smells/sights/sounds, filtering out stereotypes and received ideas, trying for some really funny jokes, etc.

Sometimes I can hardly believe how much effort it is to write a book. On Hylozoic, I have, like, 180,000 words of notes for a 90,000 words book. It especially chapped my butt the other day to see a comment where some guy said my work is “sloppy.” I wish! It’s a lot of work to make something look so loose and rambling. And it’s stressful to work so high off the ground without a net.

8 Responses to “Starting 2nd Draft of HYLOZOIC”

  1. Gamma Says:

    wow i hope it as stuff in it with like wurdz – next projext in it

    love from KT
    & i dont mean moonshine —

    wanna buy any SFEYES

    cat gone Krazy

    ?

    g

  2. Ian from NASA Games Says:

    i just wanted to say,
    after all that wordcrafting and illusion-of-writing-ness,
    do a freestyle pass through the book,
    and let RUDY (Star) walk on through, acting naturally…

    like a play, with 16 pre-recorded rudy’s-in-disguise on monitors,
    and you, live, onstage, ad hoc, ad lib

    maybe just sitting, as in a gallery of paintings..
    maybe the audience dares to ‘break’ the fourth wall and say HI RUDY

    ian.

  3. Ian Says:

    i wanted to say, but it sounded wrong, again,
    that your books, your works, your blogsite,
    radiate, convey, impart, that fourth dimensional wedge,
    that infinity-to-the-infinity-power,
    that open wide unbreakable thang
    that is maybe missing somewhat elsewhere, maybe not,
    but something seems to quickly make-us-forget, all the time.

    and your books’ metamathematical strengths,
    and show-by-do of your low-key highly-miraculous blog-life,
    let something through that is like the after-effects of
    a world-changing (one mind at a time) lecture on linear algebra
    by a certain ‘strange’ MIT (made it through!) professor.

    your books are well-built tesseracts (heinlein reference).
    (i bet robert anton wilson quoted robert anson heinlein, somewhere..)

    and i had the idea yesterdayish the 14thFeb to write a play for someone
    with 16 monitors (black macbooks maybe), all her as interacting charactors,
    scripted, in costumes, in personnas, in sync, woven, as theatre goes,
    but let her be live on stage with all that ‘railride’, an open element,
    unscripted, free to riff amidst all that ‘done’ crafted perfect-ness.

    but you have been there and done that!, i guess, bachaos/onemanshow,
    and the wierd collisional collusional intersection between
    the ‘classic book’ and the unwriteable-fleeting-angelic-realization
    happens perhaps as much in the minds of the readers
    (the observer-effectors) as in the multi-pass worldbuilder’s
    careful attention to all possible aspects of a Great Work.

    sigh.

  4. Rudy Says:

    Freestyle riff inspired by Ian’s encouragement:

    “What are you going to name the new metanovel, anyway?” asked Jayjay, drawn into the drifty flow of conversation despite his fading sense that he should worry.

    Hive Mind,” said Thuy, telling him the name for the first time.

    “Instead of writing Hive Mind, I want Hive Mind to write me.”

    “My best murals are like that,” said Kittie. “I call them vibs. The vibs paint me.” She was scrolling through images in her interactive blook. “I bet that’s how it was for Hieronymus Bosch. The gonzo master. I should copy this Bosch triptych onto a van. A tripvib.”

  5. Mac Tonnies Says:

    “Sloppy” it ain’t. I’m always interested in seeing how the various subplots converge and mesh. As a nonmathematician, I imagine it’s something like watching an equation fall into place.

  6. rs Says:

    well my one Rudy inspired, still currently stalled, attempt at writing a short story tells me that it is a hell of a lot of work to write any book and have it come out anything like coherent. Kudos to you for some many fine works.

  7. Ian Says:

    (thanks for iffing)

    re: copying Bosch roadtriptych onto a van — check out this guy who draws ephemeral masterpieces in the DUST ON CARS (and vans)… he has a large gallery to uh sift through. he uses brushes and various techniques to draw very impressive scapes on the windows of very dust-covered cars. (‘WASH ME’ taken to the extremes of micro-precise Mona Lisa or Hank Williams or desert vistas.) all gone with the wind (or rain) in days.

    http://www.karmatube.org/videos.php?id=432
    http://www.dirtycarart.com/gallery2/index.htm

    note to the censorchip: not ‘dirty’, just dusty.

  8. robert Says:

    you are a great story teller and mind stretcher
    you make the lazy eight un-roll in me
    iv searched for a connection to something larger and
    found it in the hivemind called rudy rucker-
    iv read almost all your books
    and look for ward to Hylozoic
    and the singularity!
    thanks
    R


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