I don’t know too many writers who enjoy rewrites. Whether the first draft comes easily or it’s like excreting a kidney stone, there is work required after the first draft. The easy part is the proof reading- just making sure that the punctuation and grammar is correct and your word processing program didn’t autocorrect breast to beast (or vice versa). A little more difficult is making sure the writing is ‘tight’. This means taking out unnecessary words or sentences, making sure the flow is consistent and saying things as effectively as possible. I don’t particularly enjoy either of these but have become proficient (and have two wonderful friends who copy edit for me). What is much more difficult is having to change or remove a major part of the book. I am currently supposed to be re-writing my last two novels. Broken Warriors is one I self published a few years ago. I’ve received a critique on it and learned it needs another thorough proofreading. Ugh. Embarrassing but at least only three people actually bought the book so far. More difficult is that my newest project continues from Broken Warriors and so there are foreshadows and some character tweaks I need to do.
For Grief, Inc., I’ve been told by an agent and a publisher that it starts too slowly. I started with Holly’s fatal diagnosis so this was a bit hard to swallow but the advice of two professionals is not to be ignored so I am re-reading it with fresh eyes and an open mind and you know what? I see their point. I thought I’d been beat up by my critique group enough to not drone on about descriptive things. At the time I thought I was ‘showing’ Holly’s miserable pre-diagnosis personality by how she dealt with people at board meetings and work but in reality I think I’m the only one who realized that. Kinda boring . I don’t think anyone else picked up on it because everyone else who read the book was committed to reading it for me and maybe just assumed it would get better (I think it does).
But once I fixed the first three chapters I am now paranoid about any slow moving parts so it’s becoming a fairly significant overhaul. Sometimes I worry I won’t have any words left after I take out all the boring ones. Rewriting truly is a gift. I often equate writing to life and think about how creating reality for my characters can be like creating our own realities. I have many times wished to be able to rewrite certain things in my story but am overall glad they are there (at least I’m interesting). I do think we can fix our typos as we go. To me, this means correcting inconsistencies as they occur. For instance, I have to go say sorry to the people in my bank (long story). It means really looking at how I want to be and how I am and making sure I’m in alignment. And also, sigh, doing the hard work even when I don’t want to. Thank goodness for those friends who help us with our typos (literal and figurative), though. They make it a lot more enjoyable.