Saturday, May 16, 2015

New trick for rewriting.

I've mentioned it before as an idea, but I'm actually trying it for the first time.

The Trick:  I read a chapter.  I set it aside.  I pick up a notepad and pen.  I put myself in my self-hypnotic prose poetry frame of mind.  I just start writing down stuff. 

When I'm finished, I go through the chapter and insert the prose poetry wherever applicable.

The only danger is -- I might be getting a little too metaphoric.  So for instance, here's where I'm describing my main character, who is a Golem.

Here's the original passage:  "He was so quiet, so light on his feet, so unmoving when he didn't have to move, that he could be standing right next to you and you would forget he was there."

And this is the line I added:  "He was impossible to read, like trying to find emotion in a boulder."

So is that too much?  Just enough?  Not necessary?

Another example:  "Jacob moved suddenly, lifting the meth head by the neck.  He raised the man's right arm, and then his left, as if trying to decide."

To which I added: "The tweaker was like a rag doll, silent and helpless in the hands of the giant. Sal shivered.  He would have had no problem shooting the guy. Hell, he would happily take a baseball bat to the man's body until he heard the bones break.  But there was something merciless in the way the Golem held his victim, the casual nature of it, like a cruel boy ripping the arms off his sister's doll."

Too much?  Better?  Just enough?  Not necessary?

I feel like my writing is more than adequate, but I've spent most of my effort on storytelling, not the writing itself.  This has been mostly a good thing, I think.  I get right to it, and don't waste a lot of time on extraneous material.

However, I've always felt that I could use a bit more description, a bit more telling detail. 

The other thing that happens is, once I open that 'changing things' door, I tend to find stuff in the chapter that I would like to improve.  Anything that gets me thinking, or inspires me to actually work on the editing part, is a good thing.

I'm risking overdoing it, I suppose.  But I can always trim it before I finish.  Easier to cut than to add, basically. 

The other problem is that Lara has already edited this book, and I'm making so many changes that I worry that I'm negating her edits.

The way to avoid this is to do the "prose poetry" part before sending it off to her.  Problem is, I need a month of not working to gain perspective on a manscript, about the same time it takes for Lara to edit, so it's kind of perfect timing to do it after she sends to book back. 

So I'm basically taking a chance that in trying to make it better, I'm making it worse.

I don't think my original writing is so off that it doesn't pass muster.  That is, the editing is a bonus.  Plus, well, the publishers also edit, so maybe I can count on them. I think I can trust my instincts on this.

If I just pay particular attention to the added words, making sure they are grammatically correct, I should be able to make it work.

I'm torn about it.  I like adding little artistic touches -- makes me feel like a novelist, as opposed to a writer.  So as long as I think it adds something to the book, I think I probably should do it.

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