Monday, May 31, 2010

Write, rewrite

I am working on a chapter book. It actually started out as a picture book, but when I wrote it up, I realized that there was too much missing.  The story needed fleshing out. It begged to be written as chapter book (or junior novel, if you prefer).

I have been working on it for the past week (in the precious spare moments that pop up during the day). I'm excited about it, and I know where the story is going. But I've struggled, too.The ending, as I initially wrote it, was weak. And the second chapter didn't really work. These issues festered in the back of my mind over the weekend, while I thought about other things I'm working on (I tend to have at least three works in progress at any one moment; oddly enough, I work better that way).

And this morning, I woke with the solution. I love those moments. The ones in which my brain suddenly puts the pieces together with a click and everything makes sense. The problematic chapter now fits with the rest of the story. The end will be stronger; the story, as a whole, more robust.

It required a fair amount of rewriting. In fact, I rewrote the beginning twice today. My initial rewrite was probably too scary for the intended audience, so I did it again. I think version 3.0 works. The story is by no means polished, yet, but it's getting there.

I have seen lots of discussion on blogs about the importance of rewriting and revising. Sometimes the initial idea isn't quite up to par. Sometimes we have to start over to get things right. It's tempting to think we're done after getting it all on paper (or into the word processor), but that's just the first step.

After I finish the story, I'll go through Nathan Bransfords Revision Checklist to see what I missed. And then I'll rewrite and revise some more. If I'm lucky enough to land an agent for this, I'm sure the process will continue.

Think of it as cutting, shaping, and polishing a rough diamond into something that sparkles. Something that pulls the audience in from across the room. That's the magic of rewriting.

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