Thursday, June 25, 2015

Rewrites --- BLEH!

(Art is from the upcoming Interstellar Operations rule book, and is the property of Catalyst Games Lab. But isn't this neat?)

When I'm not working on my second non-Battletech novel, I have been working on rewriting a story that went through the workshop and was battered around a bit. So, I've been tearing the story apart, and rewriting large chunks of it. I've learned a few things from these sort of rewrites;

First, I hate them. I realize long ago that I am not a "one take" writer, one who gets the story down perfect first time.  I need to get the story down on paper, then go back and rewrite. But when someone other than me points out things I couldn't see I really hate doing it. But it has to be done --- if you don't want to rewrite, then you will never make it as an author. So, I do them....

Second, I need a thick skin. Any author who wants to write professionally has to develop one. Reading criticism is subjective, but with the workgroup, it's also honest criticism which I can't dismiss out of hand. I have to take it seriously. Now, I may accept it or reject it, but I must at least look at it and decide how much of it to take. I am taking a lot of it this time around.

Third, Rewriting allows me the chance to make the story better. Guided by the criticism, I can add here, cut there, trim this conversation, add a scene. The challenge is going to be keeping it the same length. Right now, it's 500 words longer than the one I sent to the workgroup, so if it's still over my target length, I need to go back and trim it some more.

Rewriting isn't a skill that can be learned other than doing it. and successful writers will do it all the time. I don't have to like it, I have to do it.



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