Any owner of an old car will tell you that if you change one part of it, you may be upsetting the balance. My old BMW convertible recently had an A/C recharge, and the hoses blew as a result. If you own an old house, the same is true but even more so– pry up a floorboard and find a rotten joist, ruined electrical and so on.
I kept this in mind when I began the revision of Hawes Escapes. The first thing that had to change was the name. It just wasn’t happening. Nobody liked it, for one thing. For another, that title isn’t really pertinent to the story.
It got me thinking, though. What is this novel really about? Well, it’s a first-person narrative of war. I looked at all kinds of quotes and excerpts from all kinds of books. Nothing grabbed me.
I was describing the problem to my girlfriend when we hit on it. Hawser. That’s the character’s nickname, the one he never calls himself. It was perfect.
But that, it turned out, was the least of my problems.
I had rewritten the first hundred pages at least four times, and then I changed the POV to first person when I was about 2/3 finished. This wasn’t a straight-up rewrite of a first draft, but still– I was scared. What if it didn’t hold together? What if I opened the hood and found a huge mess of burned and twisted wires, cylinders that wouldn’t fire, etc etc?
At this point, I am thirty pages from the end of the book and I have found that most of my fears were only imagined. I think the story holds up and the characters are true. I took a break of several weeks between revisions, working on other stuff in the meantime: short stories, mostly, but also a few poems. I think this allowed me a set of fresh eyes. I hope so, anyway.
Stay tuned for further news of the publication of this monster!