A fun synchronicty: I am starting a unit on revision in my UCLA class today and am embarking on my own revision at the same time.
My friend Laraine gave me some amazing feedback about my new novel (especially the ending, which is very problematic in its current form.) I've been mulling over her suggestions, waiting for the right ending to reveal itself to me. Then my husband, who hasn't even read the novel, made a comment that crystallized everything.
Matt has been reading The Timeless Way of Building by Christopher Alexander (my birthday present to him), which is all about finding patterns and "the quality that can't be named" (it's ostensibly a book about architecture, but has been adopted by software designers as a revolutionary text, as well. It's a very cool looking book, originally published in 1979.) With just a little bit of information from me about the story, Matt was able to find some hidden patterns in my novel and suggest an ending that would bring these patterns to light in a satisfying way. It all makes perfect sense now--I'm very excited to put his ideas into action. I am so not a pattern person, and am very grateful for his inspired left brain approach. I am also so grateful for Laraine's beautiful feedback--she has always been such an important and right-on reader of my work.
Back to my UCLA class--I am sad that we are in the final two weeks. I have such a wonderful, talented, interesting group of students. I'll miss them! If anyone out there is interested in taking Writing the First Novel online, I'll be teaching it again in January.