Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Bluest Eye and Revisions

My summer class was cancelled, so I decided I'm going to have a summer of reading lots of books set in the 1930s and 1940s, books about Appalachia, about minorities, about people struggling.  I put together a book list that includes Toni Morrison, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, and a handful of Appalachian writers.

Today, I finished The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.  I can't say how much I love Toni Morrison's writing.  The story is brilliantly written - it's simple and poetic and honest.  It made me see a perspective I've never seen before with every turn of the page.  If I could choose a writer to emulate, it would be Toni Morrison.  I love her writing.

Last week I began reading The Child of God by Cormac McCarthy. Coincidentally, the subject matter, incest and pedophilia, is similar to The Bluest Eye

Unlike The Bluest Eye, The Child of God was crude and explicitly unpoetic.  It was written in a way that made me feel like I needed to take a shower to wash the vileness and evil off of me.  In theory it's good writing that lets you get into the heads of people who are depraved.  Good for Cormac, I guess, but I stopped reading before I made it to the half-way point and threw the book away.  I don't think I've ever done that before, simply throw a book in the trash. 

I'm not sure which book I'll read next, but I want to revise a chapter or two first.

The revision of the first chapter of my latest WIP, my first historical novel, is done. When I read it in my class for my final project, I got a solid, "Wow!" from the professor that came to critique me and my classmates.  Yay!

But I only have one chapter done.  One.  One out of roughly forty.  2.5%. 

I completed at least 90% of the research I needed to do for the entire novel, so maybe the revisions won't be as overwhelming as I think they will be, but I switched from third person to first person, so basically every word will be rewritten, although the story is the same.

I've written four novels so far (and two halves). And I have completely finished edits on none (except that one chapter).  I have a strong urge to write the first draft of another novel and another after that.  I've done plenty of revisions, just not to the point that I would call any one of them done. 

I wish my summer class wasn't cancelled.  Apparently the intense, ulcer-producing pressure of public scrutiny works for me. 


  1. I'm sorry your class was cancelled.
    I read part of a book that was like that. Didn't throw it away, but I stopped reading. And I've had the misfortune to sit through a movie or two like that.

  2. Awe... I always loved school almost as much as writing. Glad you've got a lot of writing done and the reading.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. I threw a book away once because it repulsed me so much. I won't name it here, but the sex and graphic violence in it appalled me, and I am usually very open-minded about such things.

    Is Faulkner's As I Lay Dying on your list? I know a lot of people hate that book, but I remember really liking it when I read it in high school. Weird, but fascinating.

  4. My husband loves Cormac McCarthy and has read all his work. I've only read The Road and cried like a baby through most of it. I'm sorry your class was cancelled.

  5. In my old age, I've learned to throw books away that I simply can't get into (or give them away). Time is too precious.

  6. I'm going to try something different and respond via email to those that have email addresses connected to the comments. Probably. We'll see.

    I agree with Karen - time is too precious and it seems to be moving more quickly the older I get. What's with that?

    I decided to tear apart the first adult novel (not that kind of adult novel) I wrote to get it to the point of being publishable. I worked on the first third this morning with about 20 interruptions.

  7. Toni Morrison=amazing writing

    I know it's off theme, but when I read Cormac McCarthy's The Road I felt like it changed the way I saw the world for two months!! That's a long time...anyway I figured if you're reading one Cormac book why not another. :)

  8. So sorry to hear that your class was cancelled... but enjoy the reading while you have a chance...
    You've written four books so far? That is amazing. And admirable. You are such a dedicated writer.

    Writer In Transit

  9. I like Toni. I haven't read that book, though. And I've read Cormac, but not that one.

    One chapter in is better than none. Onward and onward, is what I always tell myself.

  10. I haven't read any Toni Morrison... clearly, I need to fix that.

  11. Glad to hear you got a positive reaction from your WIP chapter!

  12. Toni Morrison is one of my favorite authors, but the term minority is quite passé. May your summer reading be a great joy. Writer’s Mark

  13. I couldn't handle either of those books, frankly. Real life horrifies me enough, I prefer frothy fiction.

    Too bad about your summer class! But kudos to you for programming your reading and working on writing! :-)
    Some Dark Romantic