Courage to Rewrite

('cuz, ya know, rewrites feel a lot like standing at the edge of a cliff.)
(The title is a spoof of one of my posts on my blog from a while back, titled courage to write. Check that out here.)

You've probably heard about Because I'm Irish before. It was the second novel I ever finished, and it, as well as its characters and sequels, is my baby.

But it does need to be rewritten.

The question is... how?

I can catch hold of the sparks of inspiration I once had for it, if I try. And it's not that the inspiration has faded, exactly; it's that I need to remember why I love that dear old novel in the first place. I need to let it sink into my soul again. I want to return to its roots so that I can keep to the heart of the story while improving the bones around it. (Anatomy metaphors, yay!)

The question is, how much do you let stay and how much do you let fade away? I've been grappling with this one for quite a while. What I'm most afraid of is rewriting and editing so much that I lose the heart of what Because I'm Irish is. 

So, instead of some sort of exhortation or writing pep talk, instead I'm asking my readers for advice. This is my question to you: how do you tackle rewrites? How do you make sure you don't lose the heart of what you wrote?

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P.S. - Thus today begins the journey I have waited for for ages... this afternoon I finally get my wisdom teeth out. (Hopefully. If nothing else falls through again. I sound so hopeful, don't I?) I don't know how long it'll take to recover, but I have blog posts scheduled out for at least a week. I can't wait to get back to blogging, and I'll miss you guys! And wish me luck. I'm nervous and I'm going to need it. And of course, all prayers are welcome, too. I'm sure I'll be back on my feet in no time. Au revoir for now, my friends!

P.P.S. - If you were looking for a pep talk, this might be your category.

P.P.P.S. - If you saw a lovely post called "what we stay alive for" go live this morning as well as this one, that's because I foolishly hit the publish button instead of schedule. (The publish button turns into the schedule button, that's all I can say.) That post has been reverted to draft form, but not to worry; it shall go up later this week.

2 comments:

  1. Goodness, I hear you, girl! Rewriting...it's terrifying. I've kind of shuddered at the very word for years. In fact, only last year did I take that plunge on the cliff and attempt it. And I...actually kind of enjoyed it.

    It's a lot of work, and tiresome, and certainly doesn't hold that magic of first drafting. But it's satisfying. Oh so satisfying.

    I promise you, when you rewrite Because I'm Irish you're not going to lose the heart of it. Because rewriting isn't blowing away the magic, it's dusting off the grit to let that heart shine brighter than ever. After your rewrite, Because I'm Irish is going to be something even grander. You're probably going to get discouraged...a lot. Rewriting is overwhelming work. But just hold on to that love of your novel and keep trekking through. Because if you love something, you're going to want to make it beautiful. And that's just what rewrites are for.

    Also, don't look at the story as a whole. What helps me a lot is taking one sentence at a time. One paragraph. One chapter. If I look at my messy, humungous first draft as one thing I drown in the thought of all the work it's going to take. But if I sit myself down and say, "Okay, you're going to fix up this one page today" then it doesn't seem nearly as bad.

    Good luck, sweet girl. You've got this!!

    And I sooo hope everything went well with your wisdom teeth. I've been praying for you!

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  2. I haven't ever completely finished a rewrite. I don't always welcome the idea. My worries have been (like yours) about losing the magic (though you just put it all into words for me). I think the trick is learning to think of entire novel as an evolving story ... I think a rewrite will not be the same as a first draft .... I think the point is to make it better than that. I think you are very brave, Sky, finally taking this up. I think maybe I should be that way, too, and start on finishing my rewrites.

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