NaBloPoMo: ARIAH Rewrites Update

As I’ve mentioned, I’m rewriting a book the first draft of which I dearly love. I am past, now, the disjointed opening sequence, and I had thought – clearly with hubris – that little rewriting would be needed in the rest of the book. But this first draft, which I still dearly love, is just getting razed to the ground. It’s surprising to me, but it feels right to do it, and it’s extremely fun to write it, so I’m going with it.

There’s an interesting thing happening in these rewrites where many of the pieces I wrote that were supposed to be the Big Reveals are now treated quite differently. I think it’s more naturalistic. I think it flows better. Characters have receded into the background, and others have come more sharply into focus. Certainly, there’s been a lot of general streamlining of the story, a better focus which allows for foreshadowing and cleaner development throughout, but I always forget how impressively creative the second draft is. I tend to think of the bulk of the creative heavy lifting gets done in the first draft, but it’s not really true.

I am pretty pleased with how the rewrites are going, but I can’t say I could have predicted how this book would rewrite itself. It has a different structure now, and it has a different tension running through it. It is less wide-eyed, less innocent, and more…grown? I feel like the book itself has matured. I know that really means I have matured – as a person, as a writer, as both – but it honestly feels much more like I’ve visited an old friend, and they’re still the same person, but a better, more grown-up version than who I last visited.

I guess what I’m saying is so far so good on these rewrites. I feel like I’m doing comparatively little of the work, like really it’s rewriting itself and I’m more or less just company. That’s a good sign: when I feel like that, it means things are clicking into place.

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