Saturday, December 22, 2012

Re-writing is just hard work

I have a writing process that makes my life difficult - although, I think every writer might say the same regardless of their process!!

I'm in the bit I loathe - re-writing or self-editing or whatever it's called that doesn't include swearing!

I love the writing bit. I sit and create. Words flow, ideas crash into one another. I leave myself notes when I know some part's not right. It spills from me, great gushes of characters, scenes, back story, emotion (well, not so much of that), dialogue, setting. I walk away exhilarated by my new story.

And then I go back and read it. Holy hell! It's a mess. An absolute mess. The bones are there to make it good... but it's so far from that it's appalling. So, I set about taming, tweaking, re-writing, smoothing, embellishing, filling in gaps (where I've left myself a note that says something like, 'This is meant to be erotic', you know, just in case I forget that!). And I hate it. I hate taming, tweaking, re-writing, smoothing, embellishing. I like writing!

This time it's a novella (but there's another novella and a novel waiting for this process to occur too - I told you I liked the writing part!) and I've done half... but the last bit I did isn't right but I'm not sure what's wrong. Should I go forwards or keep working on it? I know I have to go forwards, so I can then come back. Only then will I know what I need to do... but I hate going forwards when it's wrong.

And I hate this part. (have you picked that up yet? :) Oh yeah, I like repetition too, lots of it)

But I have to remember, if it was meant to be easy - everyone would be doing it.

Now I've got that off my chest, I'll get stuck into it.

Is there anything you need to get off your chest today? I'm willing to listen - it has to be better than re-writing!


  1. You and I are exact opposites! It's pulling the first draft out that is painful for me. After that I LOVE playing with it, editing and tweaking and challenging myself to make it the best I can.

    1. Oh, Lou, want to swap manuscripts!? I'll draft - you play! What a team we'd make! :)

  2. You and Lou might be on to something with a swap!
    It feels like a long time since I did a first draft of a novel. I've been revising for close to 2 years. I like the revising/rewriting better, I think, but what I struggle with is moving forward. I have to get whatever paragraph/page/chapter I'm in 'perfect' before I can keep going. Right now my WIP is driving me crazy and I'm farting about doing everything really, but work on it.
    Now I don't know if you watched it Cate - but I got sucked into The Voice during the year. The winner, Carise Eden, was mentored by Seal and something he said to her resonated with me. He talked about her voice as a "beast", and said he needed to tame it right through the competition so that when he finally told her to fully "let it out" everyone would see it as raw, powerful and unique to her... and he saved all that until the 'grand finale' of that competition. So to speak.
    So if it helps - think of your big powerful voice in a writing context - then you're taming it, tweaking it, so that when you find it and let it go - it's gonna be DAMN GOOD!
    Okay... so maybe you had to be there... but Seal/Carise and the Beast worked for me!

    1. Hi Lily,
      Yeah, I was addicted to The Voice. I remember Seal saying that but I hadn't thought of it in a writing context. Hmm... So I'm taming the beast... It's one hell of a messy one! And I sure don't have the amazing power that Karise had.... No Janis Joplin channelled in me... But maybe you have something there. I'll think about my beast taming and see how I go. Thanks!

      Cate xo