When I first returned to America, I had a lot of things in storage I needed to sort out.
One thing I found was the rough draft of my book!
The small spiral notebook behind the giant stack of papers is the very first version of the novel. As changes were made and things were rewritten, the stack of papers grew.
Last week, I finished the last of my rewrites!
Talk about painful. Let me tell you. Working on those rewrites was the worst writing assignment I’ve ever had.
It took me two years.
Two years of DEPRESSION AND AGONY AND THE DESIRE TO PULL MY TOENAILS OUT INSTEAD OF FINISH.
Okay, okay. It wasn’t quite that bad, but it wasn’t fun either.
I am incredibly relieved to be finished with that part of the process.
A lot of people have asked me what the difference is between making the rewrites and the finals edits.
Well, the book was originally a short story. Then it became a novel. Then it sat on a shelf for two years, and I grew as a person and as a writer. When I pulled it out, a lot of it was crap and needed to be completely redone.
The rewriting process consisted of me examining the old material, determining was I could keep (almost nothing) and what needed to be redone. Once that was sorted, I had to decide what changes needed to be made, and why.
Imagine finding an outfit you wore as a baby and deciding you wanted to make it so that you could wear it again. What would you have to do? Where would you even start?
Essentially, that’s what I did with my rewrites.
Essentially, that’s why it was excruciating.
Now that the rewrites are done, I can make edits like a normal person. It’s a mechanical process of reading over what’s done and identifying typos, incorrect punctuation/grammar, sentences that just don’t work, any character/story line inconsistencies, etc.
Compared to what I’ve been doing, this is a vacation.
Compared to what I’ve been doing, this is simple.
Compared to what I’ve been doing, this is a welcome break and I couldn’t be more excited.
(And I used to hate editing.)
So now my writing time looks like this:
(and yes, that’s a chocolate wrapper in the background and a cup of coffee in the front – where it belongs)