And just that quickly, I wrote another draft on top of the one I just posted about. As I was finishing that post, it came to me that the speaker MUST escape rather than being released. This is the only way she will recover her own power. Also, throughout the series there is always something she is holding back, something she is keeping secret, and that was missing from today's earlier draft. I even had the title as I began, "Preparations for the Moment of Escape." I can see the two poems on facing pages in the manuscript, one a poem of compliance and one of defiance.
The new draft begins:
The fact is I will choose the date of my release
and to whom I will return with this new health.
I never ceded control, not even during the fever.
It goes on to show that she has hidden a knife with which she is working loose the bars on her window, those bars that come up repeatedly in the first half of the series, and which she discovers are "more ornament than guard." For those of you out there wondering, yes, her window opens inward, "a fatal flaw."
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I can't tell you all how much happier I am with this draft, although it is also in chunky tercets, seven of them to the previous draft's eight. It is amazing to me how the speaker teaches me her story as we go along.
If all the drafts survive, I now have 20 poems of fever, 20 poems of healing, and 5 of definition. None is more than one page. That's getting close to the minimum for a full-length manuscript, and I need to think whether I want to go back and add 5 more of fever and 5 of healing or what. I sense the need to write one more "Dear Madame--" letter that announces the speaker's "escape," but after that, who knows? I think I definitely need to print the whole thing out and see what's what in a solid read-through. Still, I'm thrilled with so much progress during my little, self-imposed homestead writing residency (tho' the world threatens to intrude & the threat grows more intense every day).