Friday, August 22, 2008

The fricking rewrite continues

Life has been so busy lately, that the rewriting is going very slowly. Rewriting is a very hard thing to organize. There's a million ways to go about it.

Sol Stein compares it to triage and suggests you deal with the bits in most dire need of change first. So that means, sort of, in order:

Filling plot holes and problems
Fleshing out characters
Making sure it all just makes sense, for crying out loud.
THEN
Futz with the wording, phrases, sentence structure.
THEN
Read it out loud. Check dialogue again.
THEN
Proof for grammar.

That's the ideal way for me. But do I stick to my plan? What do you think? I score high as a Random thinker. (I can't find a link to this personality assessment thing that tells you what sort of thinker you are, but it's actually pretty useful. You answer questions and get various scores. Then you plot out the scores on an x/y axis as Random or Linear, then as Concrete or Abstract. I score high in the Concrete Random and Abstract Random quadrants, very low in Concrete Linear, but decently as Abstract Linear.)

So I'm all over the map when I rewrite. Just yesterday I forged ahead with my first big pass (up to Chapter 8!) to fill plot holes and fix up the characters. Then I paused, printed up Chapter 1, and went over the hard copy to fix the wording, phrases, and dialogue. Books are large creatures, like whales. So maybe you can rewrite large portions of its tail while at the same time polishing and sprucing up its head.

Well, that whale metaphor is strange and unweildy. But I'm all about the strange when the mood strikes, so tough.

So how do you rewrite? I'm both organized and messy. I can hold contradictory thoughts in my head at once AND act them out too. Talk about strange and unweildy.

2 comments:

elisa said...

I'm LOST in my rewrite, nina! i can't remember what i wrote in the last chapter now that i'm not writing chronologically. very confusing.

and my printer is broken.

where is the magic software to help with the rewrite!

Nina Berry said...

Magic rewriting software! Wouldn't that be nice. If I could invent that I'd rich rich rich.

Sounds like you might need to just reread everything chronologically. I get lost too if I don't start at the beginning and go forward. It takes longer that way, but at last I'm not horribly confused.

Wish I had a magic rewrite wand! I'd wave it your way for sure.