This has been a quiet fall in terms of readings and events. With the exception of the Seattle Lit Crawl in October, I’ve been able to focus completely on writing.
So this novel I’m working on is a few chapters from completion, which is remarkable for a number of reasons—first being that it has happened so quickly. I initially wrote the first chapter as a short story last fall, submitted it to a few places, and worked on a different novel through winter of 2018. But I felt myself being drawn back into the short story, so I revisited it in March and it began to spread out.
I worked on this novel in earnest spring through summer into fall. And unlike The Hummingbirds, which I wrote while working on short stories and essays, I’ve only been working on the novel. It has been a creative departure for me to only work on one project. When working on a novel, you’re refining your process as well as the novel itself, and my process has changed, I think for the better.
Another part of my process that has changed is having a writer that I’m in tune with throughout the project. I’d heard of writers having a book that they continually returned to, a sort of “North Star” to guide them. I’ve been reading a lot of Tom Drury, really examining how his novels work—in particular his tone and approach, and how they inform the decisions he makes. When you read a novel slowly, six or seven times, it begins to reveal its secrets to you.
My hope is that I will finish the novel by the end of winter 2019. I’ll be attending a residency in May at my alma mater, Vermont College of Fine Arts—Montpelier!—where I’ll get feedback on the novel from a mentor. I hope to spend my week at the retreat revising, and if all goes well, send it off to my agent shortly thereafter. We’ll see.
In the meantime, I’m planning to a living room reading series online, where I’ll read some of my published short stories and novel excerpts and post them on Youtube. I’ll link to them as they go live. There are also a couple of live readings in the works for after the new year.