The Long Rewrite

Now that the first draft is complete, it’s time to go back through and do all sorts of rewriting and editing. I have a decent list of story subjects to be added and enhanced, characters to be deepened, technology to be researched. I am far from through.

I’ll give you an example. One of my rewrite items is to enhance a particular characteristic of one of my characters – essentially to make him a little less likable, a little more odious, if you will. Well, this particular character is a major one, and so it has taken quite a while to go through and ferret out these opportunities. After spending several hours, I’m still not complete with this one task. It’s enough to make the whole rewriting process a little overwhelming.

And as I continue to read outside of my novel, I continue to get inspiration from other areas, and think of still more items to add to the rewrite list. I’ve always said that art is about layers, and now I’m applying it on a broad scale.

Sure the whole book right now seems at the end of a far tunnel. But I’m still having a thrill creating it.

Chapter Two: Slugging it Out

I refuse to be stumped. Okay, that’s not true. I refuse to accept a prolonged state of stumpedness.

After I rewrote the first chapter, I got about halfway into the second chapter and was not at all satisfied with the interaction of my main characters. I mean, the characters as individuals were interesting, but they weren’t interacting in interesting enough ways with each other. Part of the problem is the scene that was stumping me was centered around a conversation in a bar — not inherently engaging. I pondered this for several days, trying several different tactics. I began to fear that I was going to have to re-arrange major parts of the plot and characters. (And hey, that might still happen.)

But eventually, I took a big sheet of butcher paper and taped it to the inside of a closet door. And I went to brainstorming. I was thinking that I needed to write standing up to solve the problem. I needed to see it on a big white space and feel free to sketch ideas wherever they occurred to me in a sort of spatial thinking space. I was right. I solved several problems with the scene, made a few of the characters much more interesting and seeded future interesting sub-plots. It was incredibly refreshing.