Saturday, March 8, 2014

Where Does the Rewriting Stop?

The first draft of my second novel is finished. Now begins the search for perfection, that unattainable point where the rewriting stops.

So, where is that, exactly?

For the most part, rewriting comes before proofing, and concerns punctuation and spelling and word choice, and in the later stages, formatting, consistency, and continuity. The obvious stuff. Then there’s the part of the writing process that drives me batty; when my mind makes changes to something I have already written and moved past. This usually occurs in the early morning hours, during that space of time between being asleep and being awake, and come from that dusty corner of the mind where the remnants of dreams live. They are wisps of thought, misty images of scenes, and they commingle with my consciousness as I wake. They are suggestions that task me when I open my eyes, and they are as fleeting as the dreams they come from. 

So I write them down.

I read somewhere that writers should never ignore their dreams. They are pure creation, and they reveal themselves for a reason. As a writer, dismissing them is foolish. For my money, this applies to rewrites as well.

I mentioned earlier that my next novel is in rewrites. I woke the other morning with the thought of my protagonist’s early intro into the story. She does a job she does not care for. She doesn’t hate it because she understands the necessity for it, and likens it to the average American worker who is good at a job that they don’t enjoy. My early morning epiphany suggested I needed to drive that point home a bit more early on, in order to enrich the character, and give the changes she goes through more impact.       

To emphasize the point, I’ll share with you an anecdote a friend shared with me. He said Jeffery Deaver (The Bone Collector, The October List) once told him that he would edit his novels right up to the time they went to print if he could. 

All things considered, I suppose that’s where the rewriting stops … for that edition.

Best Regards,

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