If you're tired of hearing me talk about re-writing, you can imagine how I feel.
There is a satisfaction in coming up with the better word, or rearranging the sentence. But it is hard work. Hard to sustain. I don't get the creative euphoria that is the payoff from the first draft.
I think perhaps this the first time I've really sustained the effort all the way through a book. (It is easy to over-write the first half and underwrite the second half). So I'm proud of myself.
I'm just three 10 page sessions from finishiing.
I've been saying from the beginning of this second career of writing that the "process" would be just as important as the creativity, if not more so. Without an effective process, I knew it wouldn't matter how many ideas I had, or how I strung the words together. I short-circuited my previous career because I had an ineffective process. (Plus...typewriters.)
So first I worked out the best process to write the first drafts. When to write, what to write, how much to write, and so on.
Only now, a couple of years later, am I finally figuring out the a really effective process for re-writing.
I have decided to do it in 10 page or one hour chunks, whichever comes soonest. Then I walk away for at least an hour, maybe even two. Do something else, anything else.
Then come back and do another 10 pages or an hour.
Keep doing that until my brain turns to mush.
Anyway, this has turned into a very effective method. I can handle ten pages at at time. It doesn't seem overwhelming. I don't have to feel like I need to hurry. I can deal with it in distinct chunks.
Meanwhile, it's amazing how often what someone suggests as a change is an actual improvement. I mean, it isn't a different artistic choice, it's a real improvement. I don't know whether I have no pride, or I'm just able to see when something has been said better.
Even if it shakes up the style a little bit -- I think that's a good thing. It isn't good to become too predictable.
The danger I try to avoid in rewriting is getting too slick, too polished. I used to call it, doing my 'sloppy' draft -- which isn't probably the most flattering way to describe it -- but means not getting too tight, too showy, too boring.
Anyway, I feel like Led to the Slaughter is a real book. I mean, they're all real books, but I can see this book nestled among the other books like it really belongs.
4 days ago