I dare to call myself a writer? I am not worthy of writing a personal cheque…
No, wait. This isn’t bad. Might actually be pretty good. I. Am. A. Writer!
No you’re not, you silly cow. People are going to point and laugh if you publish this piece of tripe.
Wait! Look at this paragraph — it’s purdy!
And so it goes.
I am in the throes of the Dissection stage of writing a book. In a post on my other blog, I outlined the five stages of writing a book. I called the fourth stage Dissection, because that is what the rewrite feels like to me.
Or should I call it The Dreaded Rewrite?
(Is like anything like The Dread Pirate Roberts?)
Anyway! The point is that I’m rewriting. Moving along at a pretty good clip, too, having just finished the first rewrite, and casting my beady eye on the second. And a major hurdle has been identified, but not yet conquered.
The Boy is my substantive editor. He is highly skilled at this, not only knowing how I think, but having an innate talent for immediately identifying what’s wrong with something. This latter skill is why we don’t watch movies together.
I’d thrown the first part of the book at him, and the next time we saw each other, he told me it had caused him to pace at me for about three hours. I would’ve been sorry, except he had figured out what was wrong with the structure of the thing.
I’ve known something was off for a while — the content was good, but there was something wrong with the basic structure of part of it. Something that made my brain wince. I tried repeatedly to fix it, but grasping the problem was like trying to catch an octopus with your bare hands. Slippery and evasive.
After spending an awful lot of time like that, I decided to let it go. I hoped that the back of my brain would gnaw away at it until a solution came together, or that David would figure it out.
I was too close to it, but thankfully, he saved the day.
This is why it is so essential to have what Stephen King calls a Constant Reader. Someone who will read your draft gently and compassionately, be close enough to you that they know what you meant to say, and be fearless enough to tell you when your work is crap (again gently and compassionately). Often, the Constant Reader is your spousal equivalent, but a good friend will do the trick just the same.
So, that’s where I’m at. The Boy is reading and making notes, and I am embarking on the second rewrite.
I half expect to have memorized the book by Christmas.
How do you feel about rewriting? Who is your Constant Reader?
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