Rewriting. It’s not my favorite part of the writing process, but it is integral to it. Movies often depict authors as being finished with their work when they type THE END. Time to celebrate, right? Nope. In the real world of writing, that’s probably only half way home. Any experienced scribe will tell you writing is rewriting. And rewriting. And rewriting.
Different writers approach the task in different ways. I like to toss my first drafts out to a cadre of three or four trusted readers and let them have a go at it. They’re good at what they do because they tell me what needs to be fixed, not how great the story is.
It’s hard to be objective about your own stuff, so that’s why it’s a “must” for me to have other people slice and dice my “babies.” The process can be painful, but through pain comes gain.
Some of the things my initial readers ding me on are items I already know I should take care of. Their comments merely reinforce the necessity of doing so. Like what, for instance? Well, I know I use way too many dashes — in my writing. So that’s one fault my rewrites always deal with. (Gotta learn to do without those things–don’t you agree?)
I have pet words, metaphors and similes that I repeat too often. Not good. Get rid of them. I probably start too many sentences with conjunctions, such as “and” or “but.” I think that’s okay once and a while. But I probably overdo it.
Here are a few specific comments I received on my first draft of Blizzard. They are items I needed to address:
“Early on when [your protagonist] is forced to help [the antagonist], he gets too hopeless and befuddled for me.”
“There needs to be a bit more info on what is appealing about the [two characters attracted sexually to each other.]” From another reader: “Maybe jazz up [their attraction] with some fantasies . . . her in a black teddy . . . .”
“The [antagonist] needs to be punched up.”
“The early part of the book was too slow.”
“[Two of the characters’] names are too similar. You might want to change one.”
“Page 308 turns a battery powered pump into an electric one.”
So, that’s a brief sampling of things that needed to be fixed in my rewrite of Blizzard. Again, it’s all part of a process to make the novel better and tighter with more believable characters. I know I won’t attain perfection, but I’ll make every effort to craft the book into a drama that keeps my readers engaged and turning pages.