I was shopping at Multiple Organics today, my favourite local grocery store. I saw a couple of friends and we chatted about writing. One asked me how Novel #2 is going, and I replied, “Still tinkering”.
This past week, I completed revision #10, fixing typos, adding description, cleaning up prose. I told her this and she ordered me to stop. Put it aside. Leave it alone for now. Start something new. “There will be time for more revisions when you work with an editor,” she persisted.
I remember when I was in this place with Stealing Nasreen, back in 2006. I had sent out multiple submissions, created a new ending, and continued with edits. Then one day, it was time to move on. I don’t why it happened that day, and can’t recall how I started, but I did start New Skin (which at the time, I was calling “Mistake”). It was strange starting fresh, getting to know my characters, finding out who there were and what they’d do. I watched the page count grow.
Half-way into New Skin’s first draft, a book deal for Stealing Nasreen arrived and I put New Skin aside, at the publisher’s recommendation–I had revisions for the first novel to focus on and needed not to be distracted by the second. Somewhat sadly, I said farewell to Ismail and Celia of New Skin and got reacquainted with Nasreen, Salma and Shaffiq.
Then, a few weeks after Stealing Nasreen‘s release, I turned back to New Skin. At this point I felt polyamourous; I was talking about Nasreen at book launches, while further developing Celia. I was answering questions about Shaffiq, and writing dialogue for Ismail. This busy ‘intimate life’ has continued for the last year and a half. Add to this the further complexity of a brand new relationship with four strangers who have been visiting my imagination over the last couple of months–characters from novel #3. I’m still not sure who they are, but they won’t be ignored.
Today, after listening to my friend’s wise words, I am putting aside New Skin. I’ve just sent the manuscript to an agent, and will wait. I know I’ll return to it again, when the time for edits comes.
Meanwhile, I have a date with four new friends…