Not just your manuscript, but your whole life?
Does an eraser on the end of a pencil give you comfort?
Are you thrilled with the cut and paste feature that comes with word processing?
Do you feel an enormous sense of relief that there is no sin God will not forgive?
It’s total joy, the ability to rewrite.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself these days as I send off my latest novella to the publisher and I return to my novel-in-writing set during World War I.
Back to the morass.
Not ready. Back to work.
Arg, the downfall!
I took a couple days off to mourn I’m not a wonder writer whose first draft was so perfect it had to be rushed to the printer. I sulked, moped, ate too much and watched movies while I played solitaire on my Ipad. I gave myself three days to simply wallow in my grief.
I gave myself the month of April to work on another project and when my mind drifted to “oh, no! What now?” I sternly invoked the reminder: “You don’t have to think about this until May.
Okay, so I cheated. The Yuletide Bride wrote like a dream. I finished early. My mind kept returning to my WWI manuscript.
It wasn’t May.
Well, I could do auxiliary research, right? I’d watch a few more movies, finally read the definitive novel, Mark Helprin‘s A Soldier of the Great War. Keep my hand in, so to speak, while I wrote about bagpipes and 1873 Nebraska.
It didn’t work. I couldn’t stomach the book (It’s 860 pages long!). I had no heart for war movies. I DID NOT DO ANY WORLD WAR I research! I barely read my Facebook Great War 100 daily postings. I was tired of the war. Tired.
But even as I wrote about Nebraska, my mind drifted back to my story and the concerns of my agent. It reminded me of a rumpled bed that needed to have the sheets and blankets straightened, the pillows plumped and the spread pulled taut–then the story would be ready. It was just a matter of straightening and writing a synopsis that reflected the story.
What a relief.
But in those early days, my brain spun in circles and I was confused. I knew my usual editor, Jamie Chavez, was busy. (Jamie very helpfully wrote a pertinent blog post during this time about writing more than a first draft. Sigh.) I don’t have a critique group. My usual readers hadn’t noticed what my agent pin pointed.
I needed a little clarifying help.
Fortunately, another novelist/book doctor was free and I contacted Cindy Coloma. She has a personal interest in a key component of my tale. She read the proposal, got enthusiastic, and sent it back with track changes. She also discussed it with me on Skype for 45 minutes so I could talk out my concerns with a writer who understood the technical issues. She sent me information that I turned into a work sheet. It was very helpful.
I like to call this the second draft synopsis. 🙂
We’ll see what Cindy thinks. In the meantime, I’m grateful for another chance to explain my story. I love the project and I’m looking forward to returning to those characters, shaking up their lives a little more, giving them a more pointed destination and playing with the manuscript.
Don’t you love a rewrite?
At the same time, I get to review my euphoria over completion, eat some humble pie, be grateful God loves me no matter how silly I am, and, well, Word makes it all so easy.
Who can feel anything but relief?
Especially because, no matter what, the research is all done!
From the depths of despair to the cheerful joy of a rewrite opportunity. Click to Tweet
How many drafts of a project do you need before you’re done? Click to Tweet