Forty sheets of paper, four highlighters and one roll of scotch tape = the outline of a shortish, not overly complicated novel. Imagine the organizational mock-up for the more complicated favorites: John Irving. Dickens. It’s a satisfying process to cut apart a first draft and massage it into shape. I’ve sometimes wished away my impulse to impose meaning and order on chaos, to make randomness face front and march. Gardens, children and relationships rebel against too much masterminding; life meanders around the plan and doubles back. But it seems a work of fiction needs (requires?) someone standing in the attic of insanity, rubbing her hands together with glee.
Interesting Huffpo piece on the unwillingness of brick-and-mortar bookstores to take risks on small press or self-published authors, whereas Amazon will sell any old thing you get an ISBN for. I was part of a panel at the Morse Institute Library in Natick recently with the author of this piece, Deborah Doucette. At our house we’ve had many discussions recently about the necessity, or not, of “Gatekeepers” vs. “The Market.”