Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rewriting Is A Party

Don't believe me, do you?

I am currently in the middle of a major series rewrite. After writing one and a half novels with one MC, but fighting to keep the spotlight off a secondary character the whole way, my muse finally slapped me to my senses. Secondary character is now my MC, and MC is now secondary, along with a POV change. (Limited third to close first)

Which means both the finished and nearly finished novel are nothing more than junkyard piles with a few useful pieces of scrap metal that maybe will go into the new version. Likely not.

Scrapping entire novels is like pulling my own fingernails with broken teeth, while bathing in lemon juice.

This is neither my first rewrite, nor will it certainly be my last. There are times when I'd like to strangle family, friends, or my character(s) during a rewrite. But there is more to a rewrite than the hair-pulling, teeth-grinding misery of redoing all the hard work poured into the project.

Here is where the party comes in. Every time someone has thrown me a surprise birthday-graduation-goodbye-welcome-etc party, I've enjoyed it. It was fun, it was unexpected and new, and whatever manipulation had managed to get me to the right place at the right time was okay now. Ends justified the means, as it were.

During a rewrite, your muse is manipulating you. He/She is guiding you through the nitty-gritty misery of rearranging scenes, erasing favorite phrases or lines, sacrificing whole chapters on the altar of plot and pacing. For a reason. Your muse wants to throw you a surprise party.

That is, in any rewrite, invariably you will learn more about your characters, your world, your people, your own self perhaps. You will be surprised. It's inevitable.

My new MC has already proven to me many things I did not know about him, his race, or even his background that I thought I did. Never would have known it without the rewrite.

There is the joy of first discovery during a rough draft, and then there's the surprising joy of rewritten material. The joy of something unexpected.

The next time you settle in for a dreary rewrite, relax. Your muse will be leaping out to shout, "Surprise!" at any moment.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, those are huge changes. Hope the rewriting goes quicker than the original writing.