I’m organizing myself for the rewrite long haul. Much like any other journey, it helps if you know where you’re going then you can pack accordingly.
I started with Syd Field’s 3 essays. The first, what attracted you to this idea. Why did you just write 90 plus pages for fun? The second, what did you end up writing? The third, what do you have to do to make what you wrote what you intended to write?
Through the essays, I discovered I had a strong theme of prejudice and assumptions. Many of the characters were viewed one way but were actually another.
Now I moved on to Screenwriting U’s advice (yes, I’m using my screenwriting courses to rewrite a novel. Rewriting is rewriting).
First step is to identify your structure. I’m a little structure shy. Had some bad run ins. Thought it was there only to find out it wasn’t.
I’m looking at my 200 pages. I don’t know where that point is. I do, but I don’t. Didn’t know what page at least and I didn’t write in order. Instead of fussing, I wrote a “book report”, the next step, a plodding, factual, this-is-what-happened review.
I didn’t write what I thought I wrote. In my mind’s eye, I remember being shocked how much there was to do with preconceived notions and people being viewed one way and actually being another. It’s still there, but not as potent. Not consistently shown, but really sticks out in certain scenes. It was like a painter who remembered using a lot more blue (There was a ton of it! Always reaching for more) then they look at the painting and wonder where they put it.
I didn’t identify my skeleton in that session because I felt I had some bones, but they were scattered and some weren’t even unearthed yet. I didn’t want to commit to something only to realize it wasn’t what I wanted to say. Plot and story are different, but I didn’t want to nail down an event and a cause of a reaction when I need to rewrite or add a scene. I’d rather rearrange now then several pages into building.
I wrote down what scenes I really liked and why. Why did I feel they were important? Several showed different sides to the characters that surprised me. When I started writing I had an idea of who they were, but I didn’t expect what I wrote to come out.
I looked at my list. It was like picking unpolished gems out of the sand. What am I trying to say? I free wrote what I was getting from the list. I circled and came close but didn’t arrive at what I was saying.
Also I’ve grown since I started writing the novel and since I’ve finished this first of a first draft. It was a looking back at how I was at that time, like my 25 year old self re-reading a journal I wrote when I was 18.That has helped me look clearly at what I wrote and help clarify what I really want to say.
I feel if someone is with me for 200 pages, they should enjoy it. They should also get something out of it. Not necessarily an answer like a text book, but you are trusting me to make good use of your spare time. I’m thankful for that and should give you a gift.