Re-writing Is for Suckers

Actually having finished a rough draft of an entire book is a shock to the system for me.  I talked all kinds of smack about it five years ago.  I  had all kinds of MS-13-level bravado about it.  I had street-cred.  I stood on the corner of  Homily  & Tome, throwing up gang-signs and threatening to jump others in if they wandered near my clique.

But it never really transcended the reverberating tones of my incessant, procrastinatory blabbing.  I managed to burp out a single, opening chapter for a completely different book, and then have the idea and inspiration die on the vine.

So now, I’m already sweeping through my first revision for this book.  And I’ve already had a few psychological bumps to navigate.

First, is the Idea of a complete re-write–that meaning, take all 50,000 words, and start literally rewriting them, under the assumption that more elaborative and comparatively  Feng Sui phrases will replace the one that have hard corners messing up my Chi. And I’m right out of Nag Champa incense.  Don’t make me start using words like Namaste.

The problem with this for me, anyway, is my prose in general comes already as polished as I want it. As far as essays go, I am not one that needs to completely re-write.  So that went out the window for me.  It’s just not how my writing works.

Then it occurred to me that, if I were doing this on a typewriter, that fixing my flaws would require an actual rewrite.  So instead, I read my own novel for the first time, noting typos as I went along, but mainly trying to see if my characters were believable, or two-dimensional, contemptible hack holograms deserving a fictional toss into a hypothetical lake of fire.

Second, I needed to “feel” the book’s rhythm.  Is there a believable pacing?

By George, I think so.

Third, plot holes.  I had convinced myself that there were none really, but I was wrong. Horribly wrong. I have never written a novel, so I had zero experience with this, since essay and columns have been my forte. Fortunately for me, the plot holes are nothing huge–just situations in which a character magically knows information in, say chapter two that they are subsequently supposed to hear in chapter 22 and be surprised.  Stuff like that.

Lastly, I realized that there are places in which elaboration will help a few scenes.  Conversations are over too quick, and the reader needs a little more information in the momentary passions of the conversants.

So with all this, I’ll be able to fix and add, cut and incise, graft and impale, and have a first revision within a few days.

It also occurred to me that my pinnacle, closing revelatory moments end way too fast.  So not only will I be adding a few hundred words, the scene will match the pacing while still increasing in speed metronomically.

So that’s that.  Off to revise.  Then, perhaps to hand it over to the piranha-infested waters of my reader friends, who need to tell me if its a train wreck on paper.

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2 Responses to Re-writing Is for Suckers

  1. The editing phase is by far the most daunting part of the process for me. Wishing you all the best for this!


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