Killer Application novel update…
…from the first set of feedback I received on my novel, I realised that I had some major rewriting to do.
In other words, I was going to have to buck up and blood myself as an ‘author’ by doing a serious rewrite of my novel, pretty much from start to finish.
I think it was more difficult to accept that what I had been doing for the past few weeks up until this ‘revelation’ was mere dabbling, rather than proper rewriting.
Yet when the pieces that needed some attention were pointed out to me and the repercussions in how much work was still required before this piece of writing could be taken to the next level, i.e. professional ‘2nd draft’ editing, I had to swallow some semi-sweet pills regarding my writing style, including the banks of snow I had plowed right up across my own driveway (in some cases).
Basically, this was a wake-up call. So I sat down on Saturday and started to put together a proper outline of what I thought the story was, where it was going, who the main characters were and all that jazz.
You’d think, after writing more than 500 pages or nearly 170,000 words, I would know all of this off the top of my head…and you’d be right – I did. What I did not realise is how much ‘tweaking’ (read ‘major overhaul’) I had to do to bring the story back on track.
I think the major issue is that I knew in my head all of the missing gaps – I had been living with this story for so long that I presumed anyone reading it would know it as well as I. Then in midst of my outline writing and drafting of character and plot and subplot details, I realised in a ‘Eureka’ moment, that I did not have to sacrifice what I was writing.
In fact, I had to admit to myself that I had ‘chickened out’ of the original underlying subplot I had thought of writing in the original storyline. I had ‘chickened out’ by justifying that it was too much to put into one story – it would meander and get lost in details. It would take too long to play out. It would not be interesting enough to everyone.
In rejigging my original idea to fit what I thought would be a broader audience I had sufficiently transferred what (I think) is a good idea into something that had to be padded to make sense (and even then was trying ‘too hard’ at times, and ‘not hard enough’ at other times).
In other words, in 500 pages I had written the skeleton of the story with some padding that I thought made sense. Going back to it now, I have to strip almost all of the fat (tasty bits) away and get to the gristle, muscle, tendon, ligaments, bone…the gruesome guts of the story and build out from there.
Maybe this is the experience that all writers have, I would not know. In the blogs, books and articles I have read writers talk about how they ‘got there’ (made it into a deal with an agent or publisher) or how they ‘got their idea’ (the basis for their story) or ‘the journey’ (the whole or any part of the start-to-end journey of their publishing life).
All of these are extremely useful, but I guess trying to explain the ‘Doh!’ realisation of what ‘rewriting’ truly means (the ‘blooding’ of an author) is like trying to explain what it is like being a parent…to someone who does not have any kids.
This is not something that is easy to explain, aside from picturing the growth and maturity of a writer into an author.
- Imagine that writing the full novel is an author’s childhood, full of wide-open vistas and bright-eyed wonderment.
- Then editing the novel is puberty, where I know what I am doing, I know I what I want out of the story. I just need to massage it out. The form is there, I just need to kneed the shape of the loaf, chip the remainder of the sculpture, colour in the rest of the painting, before I get to the final finished 2nd draft product.
- Finally the birth of adulthood comes when I realise that the novel is not actually ready for ‘editing’. The novel is awaiting the ‘breath of real life’, the rewrite.
Now, this probably all seems a bit coy or simplistic, and of course it is. Trying to describe the growth of the writer to author-hood (child to adult-hood) is like trying to explain the psychological alteration of going from individual to parent. There is no way to describe it aside from ‘it is’.
I also have to admit that I am in the middle of the transformation. I believe I am on the cusp of the writer-to-author teenage-hood, where I have realised there is more to rewriting than editing, that first I must rewrite my story to make it stronger, to make it worth reading, to make it the best it could possibly be.
Yet even being here is not disheartening in the slightest. I am excited by the journey as much as by the end result. I am as intrigued and interested by my own development as an author as by the novel I am writing (or any of the poetry or prose that I may work on now or in the near future).
I say, “Bring it on!”
So what if it takes another six months to get to first draft status (again).
So what if it takes a further six months to get to second draft status (for the first time).
What matters is the journey, the experience, the growth and the end result. It all matters.
Now I just have to stay focused.
I know in my heart of hearts that it will definitely be worth the trip.
What a great experience to have, to grow up a second time doing what I love to do.
In the meantime I will continue to self-publish more free ebooks of poetry, short stories, essays, quotes, rants and other bits en route – watch this space!
“In there always pitchin’ and sometime’s bitchin'” as my Gamp used to say.
Life’s gonna throw curveballs – you have two choices, swing or get out of the way.
What happens after you decide how to react is down to dumb luck.
Taking the outcome personally is not only grossly egocentric, it is also fundamentally shortsighted.
How do we know what is coming around the corner?
We only know what we want or what we think is the best for us and others. We never really know what’s right or wrong until it’s already been and gone.
I just hope my hindsight plays out true, that this is the right journey and not too presumptive on my part, seeing as I am only just beginning (cue “We’ve only just begun“).
Let’s see what the next step in this journey brings.
Hopefully the end result is not total pants! 🙂
Until next time – a river dare-chi,