Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Rewrite

Someone once said (paraphrased) Even F Scoot Fitzgerald wasn't F Scott Fitzgerald until the rewrite.

I used to hate the idea of rewrites. Everything coming off my fingers the first time was fresh and real and blah,blah,blah - more artsy-fartsy diva ego tripping. Now I know better. Learning to embrace a sucky first draft allowed me to finish the first draft. Learning to embrace the rewrite is what made my work readable.

On a short story, it isn't so bad, but I'm doing a major rewrite on a novel. New chapters, redefined character, huge passages lopped off, and the hardest part, moving stuff around. It's a lot of work. I have to be aware of where I am in the new version timeline versus where passages were in the old timeline. Old and new have to blend. I don't sew, but I feel it's like taking apart a quilt and reconfiguring the patchwork into a different, but related, pattern.

Since there are new passages, it's almost like going back to the first draft. I'm going to have to read it through and rewrite this version when I'm done. At least that will only be polishing runs. I hope. If I have to do this again, I'm going to start typing from scratch.

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