Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's Still About The Rewrites...

I thought I'd said enough about rewrites in my last entry.  Well, I was wrong.  Mind you I've put away the hockey mask and chainsaw.  At least for the moment.  I managed to remove entire scenes and sections in one day bringing my word count down from 123,500 to 107,000.  Now, I've donned a surgical mask and am using a scalpel.  Why?  Because after removing the most obvious sections that took up too much space, the novel needs to be edited page by page.  I've reduced some of the word count by simply taking sentences and rephrasing what's being said, but with fewer words.  Yes, this is a lot of work, but so was writing the story in the first place.

Now, I can only speak for myself on this matter, but I'm finding editing and rewriting no bigger chore than creating the story.  Some people can get downright tired of going over the same scenes again and again, or dealing with the same characters. They get to the point where they want to add a new character armed with an Uzi to get rid of the others and put an end to it.  While that's an interesting thought, it tends to ruin the rest of the story.  Unless of course you're writing a mystery/thriller and that happens to be the opening scene. But if its not, then you need to look at things in a different way.  If you are planning future stories with some of these characters you can gain new insight into them while doing your rewrites.  Even secondary characters can start looking more interesting to you.  At least 2-3 supporting cast members in my novel, may be getting their own story (short or long) down the road. 

And that file I mentioned in my last entry, where I've been placing the scenes I've removed from the draft I'm reworking...  It's grown to 60+ pages (double-spaced).  I have much more material to work with for the sequel as well as the beginnings of at least 2-4 other stories.  In other words, while rewriting can be the pits it can also be the seeds that become  so much more.  Remember, most of us are in this for the long haul.  And we need to keep coming up with more story ideas.  You can wind up with a treasure trove of them by keeping what you didn't use.

On a personal note, one thing I discovered during this latest rewrite was that  I was losing the tone of the novel (mystery/paranormal-horror) by focusing too much on lighter moments with the characters.  Friendly banter, teasing, etc. makes your characters seem more real for your audience.  But don't lose track of whatever perils and complications await them. Cutting some of this down a bit will also reduce your word count.  In my case considerably.

Well, that's all I've got for now.  Time to scrub up and continue the surgery.  The novel is down to 103,700 words and I'm barely a quarter of the way done.  Remember the target length for a new author is between 80,000-100,000 words (for adult fiction).  Keep writing everyone.