Editing and Other Necessary Frustrations

Head down and working away on major rewrites of the 'work in progress'. Actually, this work has been in progress for some time. I wrote the first 'incarnation' - it has undergone so many changes that I hesitate to call it a draft - some years ago. Editorial comments were mixed and I was a bit miffed. Over the years, though, I realised that they had been quite right. There were all kinds of things wrong with it, and although I had been equally right to wait, and ponder, the book essentially needed such major rewrites that it is now a completely different novel! Cue forward some years to my new agent, who has given me additional feedback, of such an interesting and inspirational nature that I'm busy with more rewrites. These are in the nature of additions, a whole new dimension added to a character - which means that other sections can go, and yet others can be changed accordingly. The process is fascinating because it doesn't so much involve change as interrogating what was already there to find out what else I need to know. I was right about this particular character - but only as far as it went, and it didn't go half far enough. It's like turning a casual acquaintance into a close friend.
It is a precarious process and in undertaking it, you are queasily aware that one false move could result in an implosion and the whole project could disintegrate. On the other hand it's very exciting - and besides, I have the previous draft, so nothing is lost. But it's part of what makes the whole process of creative writing so fascinating. You're never quite sure where it's going, and if you did know, from day one, that process would become so boring that you wouldn't need to write at all. I think above all else, you write to find out. If you don't want to find out, then there's no point in writing at all.

Comments

L.A. DeVaul said…
I am so with you on that.

I think the hardest part for any author is to see this manuscript that you have put so much time and effort into, and finding out that it is not the novel you thought it was, and it needs to be completely reworked. But once you accept that, and dive deeper then it really gets fun.