I started a new folder on my hard drive today: FPR2010. (FPR stands for Faint Promise of Rain, the title of my novel.) It was a bit of a downer to do so, as I started working on the manuscript seven years ago, in 2003. It might even have been earlier; July 2003 was the date of the first notes I jotted down in a dedicated notebook. Seven years, and here I am starting a new round of revisions. And yet, I am looking forward to the process. After closing the document last September and feeling I could never look at it again without wanting to throw it out the window, I am making friends with it again, and I am seeing myriad places and ways in which to improve it. So here we go again. (On the subject of revisions, writer Natalie Whipple shares some great guidelines for the revision process over on her blog.)
One part I have not changed, however, throughout what must now be at least eight rounds of revisions, is the prologue, the very first words I ever wrote to this manuscript, before I even knew I was writing a book:
In Rajasthan, a five year old child is likely never to have seen rain. Five hundred years ago, like today, the monsoons were elusive. In the royal palaces, the walls of the children’s rooms were trimmed with black and blue cloud designs, so that when it finally did rain, the little ones would not be afraid. Less fortunate children, those who had grown up looking up at thatched roofs and endlessly blue skies, would remember all their lives the fear and hope they felt the day of their first rain.
I leave you with that image.