Saturday, October 10, 2009

Starting My Rewrite with a BANG

Ok, let me fess up - the title of this post is more aspiration than reality.  It all started after my last post, when I sat down in front of a freshly created Word doc and set to the opening scene of my novel.  I chose a very dramatic moment in history, and was confident that my now-honed (or so I believed) writing skills were going to create an amazing first scene.

I wrote the opening - less than 2 pages, double spaced - and read it to my husband.  His face grew confused and he had to stop me before I had finished.  "Wait, where is this taking place again?  And who are these characters you're introducing?"  

I had done it YET AGAIN ... I had launched into exposition about characters the reader had not even met yet.  A very dark, sinking feeling crept over me, and even my husband's statement that I shouldn't worry, I just hadn't gotten into the flow of rewriting yet, did not comfort me.  

Shortly thereafter, I had to go to work.  I got in my car and turned on the radio.  Crowded House told me to stop dreaming, it was over.  I spent the rest of the day yearning to crawl into bed and put the covers over my head, indefinitely ...

But like many a writer-type prone to melodramatic bouts of victimhood, I snapped out of it the next day and set to reworking my intro.  The task is proving a lot harder than expected, but maybe that's a good thing.  I am fully aware - maybe too aware - of how important the first few pages, heck, the first few lines, of a novel are.  And so I am really running myself over the ringer to get my book off to a powerful, well-crafted start.  I sure hope I pick up momentum though, because at this rate, I might not finish this rewrite for another 5 years!

Which leads me to a brief announcement re how I plan to conduct this blog over the next few months.  My legal workload is ramping up, and this rewriting process is proving more arduous than I had expected (and I had already expected it was gonna be rough!)  So I'm going to go back to my original plan of "checking in" here once a week.  And of course, I will also be reading posts from all your blogs to learn the latest tricks of the trade, and ways to cope with the stresses of being an aspiring published writer!

FIGURING IT OUT AS I GO:  Ok, so maybe revising your novel or short story or memoir isn't going to be as easy as you'd hoped, despite all the how-to's and insightful writers' blogs you've read.  That's life!  Good things take hard work, right?  If you find yourself in a rut, just re-read the helpful tips that you know you should be following, and eventually these techniques will become 2nd nature.  Here are 2 excellent blog posts that I have benefited from recently: Me, My Muse and I and Caroline by line


  1. Revising is hard because just when you think you got it, someone else points out something else that you missed. Sometimes I don't understand when people don't see things, but I have to remember I have the whole story in my head, they don't.

    Good luck with your goal. I'll come check in once in a while.

  2. Good luck with the rewrite. Opening pages totally stress me out. I always feel like so much is riding on them.

  3. Good luck with the revisions. Thanks for the links.

  4. Rewriting is painful sometimes (who am I kidding, almost all the time). The problem is that despite our best efforts writing can never be perfect. It isn't quantifiable. You can't always arrive at the "right" answer. You just have to make it the best it can be (and then have beta readers help you make it better). Hang in there. In a few months you'll be finished and it will feel so good.

  5. Best of luck with the rewrite.. I'm going through the same on mine. It is painful, but necessary. I started mine a few weeks ago after reading a hard copy printout of my MS. I realized my characters needed major work. I'm sure you can do it... its all about the love of the craft, isn't it?

    But, if you do need a moment of escape and perhaps (hopefully) a good laugh, stop by my blog. I'm trying to keep it updated with fresh stuff.
    Best of luck to you.

  6. Thanks, everyone! I'm going to be trolling all of your blogs again in the next couple of days for some more literary pick-me-ups. And FYI, I think I've found my "flow" again! I'll blog a bit about that this weekend ...