Turns out even if you ignore the file for six months, it never does pull itself together for you.
Actually, though it’s taken a LOT longer to get to this revision (of The Mountain of Kept Memory, which is a title that I’m still proud of) than I hoped, and I still haven’t actually started work as such, I have some hope I’ll be able to dash through it pretty briskly. This is because I now have an outline! No, no, not an outline of the actual events in the book. An outline of the events that should be in the book but aren’t, plus an outline of how the protagonists feel about those events!
Making this weird kind of outline has been, I hope, really helpful. I now think that I may well be able to get the story into the kind of shape my editor wants. Setting the manuscript aside for six months really was helpful, even if it didn’t take the opportunity to re-work itself while I was doing other things.
So . . . at this point, I’ve decided to devote the first week of Christmas break to this project. The other aspect of this plan is that I now intend to write only 100 pages of the new project. I should be able to do that in a lot less than a month, if I need to, so I don’t have to feel stressed about putting the new project off while I work on the old.
Also! The sweet potato-ginger-chocolate chip cookies have humbled me. I frankly think I knocked my first two cookie recipes out of the park. And on the first try with each of them! I was feeling pretty smug about my talent as a baker, let me tell you. But these sweet potato cookies! Wrong, wrong, wrong texture! I want a MUCH cakier cookie. And even the flavor’s off. I need them sweeter, and also more complex.
Sigh. I’m disposing of the non-great cookies here at work, where I’m getting many comments but few complaints. The next try will be better! Probably.