The way to know life is to love many things ~ Van Gogh
If I may paraphrase ~ The way to know a work in progress is to write many things.
Composing, revising, polishing, proofing. The road from initial story idea to completed manuscript is not only lengthy, but fraught with false starts, detours and any number of potholes to jar body and soul combined.
Those chapters constructed with such care and strict adherence to the concepts of goal, motivation and conflict that have to be ditched because they just don’t move the story forward. That complicated, epic length manuscript, that was supposed to have been a simple short story. Or vice versa.
I know a little something about the latter. Not too long ago, I whittled a 70 thousand word novel that didn’t sell down to a 40 thousand word that did. Humbling? You bet. But, surprisingly, not all that difficult to accomplish.
For those of you who are writers, which facet of writing do you find harder to do? To write an original draft, tell the story you want to tell – no holds barred. Or to go back through and rewrite that draft until it’s, well, polished to perfection?
As far as I’m concerned, the rewrites are far more daunting than the actual writing. In the rewrite phase there are rules to be followed, guidelines to adhere to. Being in the throes of a minor overhaul of a once completed (or so I thought) novel may have something to do with my current choice.
The, what I have come to refer to as my WIP Repeat, was originally rejected by an editor who, before this, had accepted everything I offered her. Among the reasons for her no thanks: Not enough conflict, bad guy who wasn’t bad enough, and the ever present—in my writing at least—too much flowery language.
After recovering from any author’s reaction to rejection unbelievable shock followed by near crippling disappointment, I got to work on the suggested rewrites.
In my opinion, there’s a lot of good material in the original I’m trying to preserve and weave into revised story arcs. Except, I’m haunted by some rewrite advice from a workshop I took long ago. "If you have a line you simply love and can’t do without, cut it, get it out of there. You’ll be better off in the long run."
I think I’m learning the hard way how true that statement is. Yet I’m confident, eventually this manuscript will all come together. Much of it already has. I will get there with a submission worthy work. Until then . . . let’s just say I sure am ready to have this WIP Repeat behind me.
Then, as I begin that inevitable next one, I am so looking forward to having that good old blank page in front of me once again. Because we all know that next one is really the best. The one that isn’t even started yet. The one still happily floating out there somewhere with the rest of our still to be fulfilled dreams.
The one of many things—writing wise—we truly, dearly love.
My days to blog here are the 11th and 23rd. For more about me and my writing, please check out my website