Thursday, March 29, 2007
The Agonies of Rewriting/Editing
I've been emailing with my old CP this week about this topic. We're both trying to re-write older projects, with the same characters, and some new plot points, subplots, etc.
I was complaining to her that I was having trouble matching my "voice" to my "old voice" as I rewrote scenes and changed the first three chapters to better reflect the new ending.
What she had to say made so much sense that I thought I'd share it here: "Bottom line when you originally wrote/write a book you are writing at your level at that time & with both a conscious and unconscious intention re: themes, story line, character types, etc. In other words you are in a certain space for that time and it will not be repeated...Second bottom line = you can't match your voice from two years ago. You are a different person. Does that mean you have to throw everything out? I don't think so (I hope not!!! :))"
Robin is a published author and teaches online courses for HRCW and KOD. You can find her at her website RE Matheson
You can probably tell from the above that she's a dynamite online teacher. :) Keep your antennae out for any lists which carry her courses, as you won't be disappointed. She and I've shared this writing journey for a few years now. We stopped being CP partners when our lives and writing genres took us in different directions (quite literally from one end of Canada to the other!)
If you're in the stages of rewriting an older piece of work, don't give up because your characters are likely sound. I've been in the process of redoing my character sketches for this book because I've changed the villain, so must now make up a completely different character for the same "name". I've amped up the hero and changed some characteristics of the heroine to make her more obsessive and revenge-oriented.
I took the "best" rejection letter I had and tossed out the things they said didn't work in the book. Some of you will disagree with me here - some writers are purists who just keep sending a MS out over and over. I still feel the need to write this story, but in a different way, and I can see where that editor was coming from when she rejected me. I now have a bigger "feel" for my story, and want to have a different theme and emphasis for it. (I guess I should thank that editor for rejecting me, because if I can pull this off, it'll be a MUCH better book! :))
And of course, working on one WIP doesn't stop me from making notes on a new WIP, with different characters. They'll be waiting in another file when I'm done re-doing this one!