There’s drafting and there’s editing, and then there are rewrites. What I’m discovering is that not all rewrites are created equal. Sure, each novel is unique, but I’m not talking about content differences. Instead, it’s differences in the problems and their solutions. My rewrite from late last year is a stark contrast with the one I’m doing now.
The first was Riparia’s Bk2, A River in Each Hand. It was originally drafted in November 2016 when I was extremely sick. It read like it was ill. There were missing scenes, ignored opportunities, and just plain bad writing.
But! The basic story was sound. What it needed was better writing and enhancements. If it was a house it would have been a fixer-upper.
Essence Stone, which is the second periphery novel (same country and timeline, but different characters) is also a fixer-upper. The bigger problem is that upon touring the house you discover that entire rooms are, well, missing. The ones that are there? Some are in the wrong place.
That’s why this rewrite is progressing more slowly than I’d anticipated.
It all started with its birth and choosing to draft Essence Stone during the summer. I should have known better because drafting during the warmer months never goes well for me. The second reason is my stubbornness. I refused to recognize I was writing two different stories that had no real connection.
“Oh, but the connection is the romance between the main characters,” I replied at the time.
Slaps own self harder than necessary. “Is that why they had virtually no scenes together and when they were together the chemistry was as exciting as tepid water?”
At least I can give myself credit for pushing on so I’d have something to work with later when I finally realized my mistake. Sure, the novel was terrible, and I knew it was going to be terrible, but I suspected I had at least one novel buried in the mess.
I did, and more.
I’ll get to the bulk of what I’m using in a moment.
The scattered pieces I’ll use came from the male protagonists plot line. About 5% of his story might one day become a short story. About 10-15% will be used with a different protagonist in Riparia’s Bk3. About that same amount will be saved for the male protagonist’s eventual periphery novel. The rest of his story is junk, which is a lot.
On the other hand, there’s the female protagonist’s plot line (Essence Stone), of which I’m reusing about 80% of the original scenes, though I’ve gutted many and more are being added. Too, many of the settings are changing, a few characters are being added, and, basically, I’m writing the vision that wasn’t written because I compromised due to length.
Gutting scenes was necessary when she interacted with him or he was mentioned, which left holes big and small. That’s left me with the task of weaving in the romance so it’s between the characters who were attracted to each other in the first place, and who were together for most of the novel.
Last summer, by the time I reached the first plot point, I was noticing the sweet, hesitant, but burning, chemistry between Amatha and a different character. I tried to write it as friendship only, but it didn’t work. At every turn the awkward writing made it plain what I was doing was wrong.
Now I’m making it right.