So, my friend Linda and I have set Sept. 15 as the target date to finish our manuscripts. She’s writing a really awesome novel with immensely compelling characters and gorgeous prose. I’ve read a few earlier versions and have seen her novel evolve and grow stronger, more immediate and more specific. I have supreme faith that hers will be polished and perfected by our due date.
I’m a little less sure about my own, and maybe it’s simply because it’s my own. I worry that it isn’t compelling enough, that characters aren’t distinct enough, that people won’t relate, and the like. I suppose everyone worries that about their own work, and maybe it’s a good thing to be concerned with these things, because I’ll be conscious of them in the back of my mind at least, during revisions.
Mainly though, when I edit, rewrite and revise, I go through chapter by chapter. First I read the chapter over, without making any comments or notations, just read it. Then I free associate thoughts in a notebook for awhile, and these thoughts aren’t usually technical (as in about the craft of character, etc), but more about if I feel I really captured the events and emotions. A lot of the times the answer is, “not quite,” and I find places that could be stronger, more scene and less summary, events that detract from the overall story, confusing or overwritten sections, passages where I can go deeper and better weave in with the rest of the story.
Sometimes I find rewriting as satisfying as writing. Other times I put it off and avoid it, because it is work, because sometimes the areas I want to explore deeper are painful ones, because in a way, as a writer, I have a lot of wordy tricks to avoid myself and these painful areas and rewriting often means peeling back the layers of words that veil things, and instead find words that unveil them better.
So, I’m just about halfway through, and hope I can get through the next half in the next month and a half, and hope I won’t need too much more revision after that.
Silverchair – “Paint Pastel Princess”
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