I’m working on Rabbit when I should be getting Drunks, Fools and Kings into shape. I’d gotten to the end of the second book when I realized just how big the world was, which meant going back and rewriting book one. Then, when I finished rewrite book one, I realized that I had to go back and rewrite Rabbit from the very beginning all over again.
Then when I finished book three, I had to go back and rewrite book two for book three to fit into the world. So, in total the book has already been rewritten three times. Five years ago, the though of rewriting a rewritten rewrite wouldn’t be something I’d ever do. I thought my problems were limited to typos and homonym issues.
I was totally wrong. Rewriting to please a group of people is one of the worst things you can do to a piece of text. I’ve seen people cut out the heart of their story and turn it into milquetoast. When I rewrite for me, though, I’m able to fix from page one the story I meant to tell. No matter how good I think a draft is, by the time I get back to editing it, I can always say it better.
I can’t say I’ll ever love rewriting. At the very least, I can say I no longer hate it. But prior to 2006 me thought I didn’t have the time to rewrite a piece of work. 2014 me knows if I don’t have the time to say what I meant from the beginning, no one will ever get far enough into the story to fall in love with the characters.
Next time: Falling in love with your characters.