I decided in the end to change the narration of NEARLY HUMAN from 1st person to 3rd person.
If I'm going to write in 1st person, then the 'voice' is super important, and I just didn't feel like I was getting it. As I said before, I need to make Cobb a more sympathetic character. 3rd person in some ways is taking a step back in immediacy, and yet somehow made me feel closer to Cobb as a character.
I'm "feeling" the story more and more. Whether that's translating into a better book, I'm not sure.
However, changing the narration messed up the writing more than I anticipated. I thought it would be a simple matter of changing pronouns, but it turns out to be much more complicated than that. Simply having two "he's" and' "his" in a sentence instead of an "I" and a "he" really makes the sentences confusing. It's harder to intuit which he and his to keep after the fact than while actually writing the sentence.
So I think I improved the story slightly, at the cost of messing up the writing. Now I have to go all the way through the story and copy edit and also try to rewrite from the 3rd person perspective. Argh.
Before I do that, I'm going through the story and trying to figure out how to strategically improve the story -- which is a more critical thinking type of process, rather than a creative process.
I'm still hoping for the last draft miracle, where it all just comes together. I used to have this experience all the time in college. Struggle and struggle and then, just before handing it in, the paper would all come together. If I hadn't been struggling, it never would have happened.
I'm going to give myself another month --
If it wasn't for the experience of writing THE RELUCTANT WIZARD and FREEDY FILKINS so quickly, I wouldn't even attempt it.
Meanwhile, I'll probably still have another book or two out in January or February, so I'm telling myself to slow down, get it as right as possible.
I made the mistake of starting to read THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION, by Michael Chabon which makes my writing look downright primitive in comparison.
I just have to keep reminding myself to tell my "story."