Friday, January 8, 2010

The Trouble With Rewrites

In Stephen King's book, On Writing, he suggests that once you have completed a WIP (Work In Progress), that you are best served by sticking it in a drawer and forgetting about it for a good six months. This way, once you go back and revisit your brilliance, you are better prepared for editing and rewriting because it'll become painfully obvious what needs to go.

I can say that this is very true. I am in the early days of making a serious run at rewriting/reworking my WIP, Second Nature, and when I look at my first draft, I cringe at some of the stuff I put on paper, stuff, at the time, I remember thinking was both awesome and brilliant.

Over. It.

I had a similar experience with Effigy when I was rewriting that. Scenes that, long ago, resonated well, suddenly seeming...uh...lame, I guess. And I remember having a problem that while I was more than willing to divorce myself from these scenes, I was less willing to split up with certain lines of dialogue that appeared in certain scenes. This led to days of sulking and staring out the window and restless pacing around the house as I tried to decide what I wanted to do. More often that not, I sacrificed the dialogue for the good of the story, and stored the small exchange away for possible use somewhere else if the opportunity so arose. Which, by the way, it almost never did.

I got over it. Kind of.

And now I am experiencing some Déjá Vu because here I am again, a new WIP, with rapidly changing scenes and progress that has come to a screeching halt because I am forced to decide, once again, how badly I want to keep my dialogue.

I am also trying to decide how I can get the story from the new Point A to the old Point C because I really like where the story ends up. I had this problem with Effigy too and it took a while to convince myself to trust myself and my instincts and to just go with the flow and go where the story took me, no matter the direction. Ultimately, I got there and found a sort of compromise that just took my original plan and (I think anyway) made it better.

With luck, it won't take so long to get there this time because I've got a deadline. And I intend to keep it.

I'm doing well so far. I am sitting pretty on 34,638 words. Out of a goal of 200,000, sure, but I'm only supposed to be sitting pretty on 5,264 words so I am way ahead. For now. Things happen. Life happens. Yes, I'm sure it'll surprise some of you to find that I have a life. Or at least a semblance of a life...

And on that note, I am going to get back to it.

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