Rewriting, my personal challenge

All good writing is rewriting. You’ve seen this quote all over the writing world and I do believe that is true. Unfortunately, I am not very good at it. I love the rush forward. I wrote my first book for NaNoWriMo in 2005. (In case you don’t know what that is, it is a novel writing competition which pushes you to finish a short novel (50k) within the 30 days of November.)  The headlong push of getting from idea to finished product is like a drug for me. I’m discovering something new around every corner. The sense of being a kid in a candy store is overwhelming. I hesitate to say it is euphoric, but it is addictive. The downside: Revisiting places I’ve been is not nearly as fun. So, if all good writing is rewriting, how does one tackle what I consider to be a natural reluctance?

One of my dear friends, Amanda Mack , the writer-director at Weekend Rockstar Productions on YouTube, is a rewriting junkie. She enjoys the work of going back and tweaking and recreating. We chatted on Facebook the other day and the discussion came to our differences in our mediums (screenplays vs prose fiction) and our process (plotting vs pantsing). She can’t work without an outline. I am learning how to outline but I do not, as yet, do it well. Case in point, we have both written for the 24hr Playfest in Savannah, GA. I wrote two plays in four hours and other than spell-check did not go back to look at ANYTHING in either of them.  Though there was a moment in the second one where I had to go look up a fact about Dante’s Inferno. (That was not the play chosen by the coordinator to be shown to the directors that year. He chose the first one, Three Witches and a Sacrifice.)  Amanda’s process is different from mine in that she writes what comes to her and then goes back and refines it until it is something gorgeous. I freely admit that much of my work could use some work.

Chains of Fate  came out in June 2015 to zero fanfare and it is in edits right now. A professional editor is looking at it. (There’s a bit of a story there, but it isn’t important here.) I am responsible for rewriting chapters and sending them to the editor. This process started in August. I’m on chapter four in December. This is a problem. At this rate, a book of forty chapters will take several years. All because I have a problem with rewriting. Therefore, I need to do something about this. What’s the quote: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. [B. Franklin says something like this.]

(Gee, I should probably apply this to outlining.)

Plans need structure. I have already started, but I need to know when I’m going to finished which will then define how fast I need to work. I’m on Chapter Four (I actually ended up completely axing Chapter Three. Short version: Realized I can take everything from Three and move it into Four without really damaging anything while increasing the screen time of a major character.) and I have to get through to Chapter Thirty-Eight. So assuming that I want to set up to have the complete rewrite done by the second anniversary of the book (June 2017) then how fast do I need to work? About 6.5 months. 27 weeks. Twenty-seven weeks to complete thirty-four chapters of varying length means I have to complete it at a rate of a little over one chapter a week. Hmmm…maybe not doable. Especially when one considers I have to pay for each edit by the word and I’m not made of money.

Back to the drawing board. Part of my lack of urgency is Chains of Fate is not a bad book. Is it 100% error free, no. Are there definite places to improve it, yes. However, the story is solid. The storytelling is solid. It can stand on its own. In all truth, I am having a professional editor look at it because I feel it could be better. All of my books can be improved, in my opinion. Not because they are bad but because I want them to be fabulous. Fellow author, D E Morris, has a working relationship with an editor in which her books go through four or five drafts. Read the books. They are wonderful. I want that.

Coming away from the issue of Chains of Fate, I have a number of pieces that need polishing to create a better library of my work. My Completed Works folder is bursting at the seams with things I need to show off to the world. I have a couple of different places I want to submit such as The Siren’s Call (Horror) and Amazing Stories (Sci-Fi). However, rather than revamping something, I kinda want to write something wholly new and original since all of my stuff in my Completed Works folder has been done already. There’s me with that rush headlong toward the cliff mentality again. My friend, Isabella (@belladarkwood), occasionally fusses at me about this during our weekly writing group sessions with Rebekah (Runaway from Zombies) and others, web presence unavailable.

After all of this, what is my plan? Yes, I am going to make sure I can get the chapter edits for Chains of Fate done. That is important. I have a couple small submission places I want to shoot for, the deadlines are on my calendar. Multiple parts of a PERSONAL CHALLENGE: I will submit to several smaller prints starting with one that’s due 12/15 and I will finish those chapter edits by June 2017. I will make this happen. If you want to keep an eye on me, feel free to follow the blog for updates.

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