Friday, May 7, 2010

Blind Rewrites

Jenny and Ali talk about a method of rewriting short stories called "The Blind Rewrite." I don't know that it warrants capitalization and quotation marks, but that's the way they always say it. What you do, as I understand it, is rewrite without looking at the first draft. Hence, blind. The theory behind that is that you will remember what it important and forget what isn't. Not sure that I completely agree, but it's a method.

However, how does one manage that with a novel? Yeah, I didn't even want to think about going there. But I came up with something that worked.

Step 1) Print out a clean copy of manuscript.
Step 2) Read and mark up.
Step 3) Add in any pertinent comments from critique group.
Step 4) Using the now not-so-clean copy, retype the whole thing.

Oooh, you say, no wonder it took you so frikkin' long to get that rewrite done. Well, yeah. But I think it was worth it. We'll find out at the end of the month if the CWC agrees.

There were areas in the original where I'd started telling instead of showing. There were missing scenes needed for tying others together, for clarifying certain things, for heightening tension. I had dreaded having to write those new scenes, but by retyping the whole thing, those scenes just kind of organically appeared.

Another benefit was noticing a lot of continuity issues and many other missing scenes. I was also more aware of repetitions--words, phrases, ideas, actions. I know I didn't catch or fix all of them--that's what critique groups are for--but I caught a lot more than I did in the read-through.

One of my fears going into the rewrite was that I wouldn't have enough when I finished. I started with just shy of 200 pages, maybe 50,000 words. Way too short for a mainstream novel. What if there wasn't enough 'there' there for a full novel? Well, not to worry. The finished product was 603 pages and a little over 104,000 words. Which gives me a nice buffer for the things CWC will cut.

Cutting and pasting would not have solved nearly so many of the problems. Especially not the problems I didn't realize I had. This may be a time-consuming method, but it's one I'm going to keep using. At least for the 1st rewrite after receiving feedback from the gang.

There will be other things to fix, but I hope that this version is in good enough shape that those won't be major.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, May 3, 2010

May Goals

Not many blog posts last month. It may have had something to do with working on those April goals. I felt that if I had time to write anything, I should be working on MMG. So I did. Although I missed the deadline for getting everything to CWC, I did finish the rewrites at 9:45 p.m. on 4/30/10. So I did complete them in April. The final pages went to Ali, Jenny & Shane on Saturday (after I took the full manuscript to Carrie so she could be first). I will deliver Mary's to her today on my lunch break. Phew!

I hope to blog more this month on the experience of revising something so big. It came in at a little over 104,000 words. I'm sure I'll be told to cut many of them, but it definitely needed more than the first drafts had.

So, May goals. I'm taking it easy this month, gang.

--Expand on one of the prompt responses for CWC.
--Work on short stories.
--Work on poetry.

Just playing with words for a while. Soon enough I'll have to get serious with either Vesta or TKoS.