Monday, August 3, 2015

Have I finally found the way to rewrite?

It's funny.  The advice I usually hear is to not read the reviews.  I had intended to follow that advice.

But then the reviews started coming in and they were almost all good.  Not just from friends and family, but from strangers.  The few bad reviews I've gotten have been so wrong-headed and off-the-mark, that I can pretty much dismiss them.

That's not to say that someone couldn't write a bad review that was on the mark.  That might be hard to take, but might also be a learning experience.

Anyway, I've found the opposite experience.  Just about the time I'm feeling down and discouraged, along will come a nice 5 star review where the reader had a genuinely good time reading my book, and I think, maybe I'm a writer after all.

Anyway, I'm in the process of rewriting Tuskers III.  I'm doing it a bit different this time.  I finished the first draft knowing it had some problems but sent it to Lara anyway.  Then went off and wrote Gargoyle Dreams.  Tuskers III came back to me from Lara on Friday, and I started going through accepting changes and responding to comments.

Then on Saturday, I sat down and just started rewriting from the beginning.  I'm determined to do this all the way through the book.  So far, I'm 6000 words in, and I've made substantial changes.  Improvements, I do believe.  The kind of filling in that I've always felt like I needed.

This is the first time I've really done it this way, and I can see that this is the way to go forward.

The only downside is that I will lose some of the benefit of Lara's copyediting.  That is, I'm adding so much material that there is bound to be copyediting mistakes.  I'll ask her if she wants to take a quick copy-editing trip through the book (and Lara always asks for this opportunity) but it may be more than she bargained for.  I do have a publisher though who also edits so I may have to depend on this for a complete book.

I've added a third to the book so far.  4000 words has become 6000 words.  If I do that all the way through, I'll end up with a book of 80,000 words, a good 25,000 words longer than Tuskers I and II.

If that happens, so be it.  I'm hoping that the additions are more necessary at the beginning of the book than at the end of the book.

I almost always pack some action into the beginning of my books.  This time I'm taking a more measured approach, which probably somewhat depends on the readers having read I and II.  Which I assume will be almost everyone.

Some of my books have come out pretty much complete, without the necessity of this kind of rewriting.  Tuskers, Death of an Immortal, and Rule of Vampire were all pretty much done from the start. Led to the Slaughter had some rewriting which improved the book quite a bit.  Blood of Gold and Tuskers II needed some rewriting and looking back, I think I would probably rewrite them even more.

But this going through page by page is so obviously a benefit that I'm going to do this from now on, whether I think the book is finished or not.  I think I'm at a stage in my career where I need to focus on improving, not on speed.  I've got plenty of material to work with.

So taking the month or two for perspective, having some help shaping the book through editors, and then sitting down and giving it a thorough rewrite.  This is the way to go.

I often talk about how I hate to rewrite. Well, giving myself a month off between efforts addresses that problem, more or less.  I didn't find it to be so terrible after all. 

Especially when I see the improvements.

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