On Rewriting a Novel
Sixty thousand plus words sat mostly untouched in the maze of my laptop’s hard drive for over a year. Every six months or so I would check on them, add a few, delete a few, ponder the future of the characters living within those words. I never got further than a few hundred words at at time though. Maybe my characters needed to go on a journey I wasn’t ready to take them on. Maybe they needed emotions and problems I wasn’t mature enough to handle yet. Whatever the reason may be, it’s finally time for this rewrite to happen.
Let me just tell you though, rewriting a novel is hard. The characters are half developed and they fight change. Those characters who are supposed to have all sorts of tension and arguments BEFORE they reconcile? They really just want to climb into bed together. And forget supporting characters. They want their own book and they want it now.
When you go to fix the crater sized plot holes things stop blending and more changes are needed with every new word. Remember that really good line you wrote for that one scene? Now it fits in this scene, only you can’t remember what scene it was originally in so you spend twenty minutes skim reading trying to find it. Then once you move it to it’s new scene you realize you have to scrap the old scene because it no longer has any weight to it.
Don’t bother printing out your outline. You’ll change it fifteen times by the time you’re done with the second read through. Scenes will get moved around or deleted or totally morphed into something else. Oh and you know how you thought this ended? It doesn’t. There’s a new ending somewhere in your brain but you can’t quite picture it yet. You just know that the current one is not going to work.
Sometimes it hurts to even read the drivel you have hiding in the depths of word documents. Sometimes you find something you wrote years ago and can’t believe that magic came out of your mind. There are some ideas that just won’t let you go until you’re done with them. Those might be the great ones. I guess I’ll see about that when I get there.