Saturday, January 22, 2011

Re-writing and Cookies

So here I am, it’s 12:04 AM, and I’m Battling the Green Death. Why, you ask?
Why, it’s novel re-write time!
You see, I was so sick of all of the people over at NaNoLand telling me, “Rewriting is the most important part of a novel!  Rewriting is the majority of the work!  Rewriting is polishing and making your novel readable!  Rewriting!  Rewriting! Rewriting!”
I was good with being told what the next step was after rough draft.  But imagine being told that you had to make 17 dozen cookies for a luncheon, and you had no way of getting a recipe.   Your computer was dead, your cookbooks burned in your last attempt to make nachos, your phone networks are down (all of them), and the library is closed.  The only thing you’re getting from other people is, “You know, I had this really great recipe once that used some kind of butter or butter substitute.”
It was a little like that.
But imagine you wrote a book.  You’re feeling great, like, “Wow, I did this thing!” and everyone else is telling you, “Now you have to rewrite!  That’s most of the work!”
And you say, “Okay, cool!  So what is rewriting?  Do I cut/move things around, or rewrite the whole book, or just scenes, or do I change wordings, or get new characters, or what?  What’s typical of a rewrite?”
And you hear, “Now you have to rewrite!  That’s most of the work!”
And you say, “Okay, great!  So do I print off a copy of the novel and proof it, and then I rewrite in my changes?  Or do I change wordings of passages and switch up some dialogue?”
And you hear, “Now you have to rewrite!  That’s most of the work!”
Now you think that’s annoying.  I heard it a lot more than 3 times, honey.  And what was I going to do?  No one would define ‘rewrite’ for me.
So I came to the obnoxious conclusion that maybe no one can define rewrite.  Maybe it’s just that part of the creative process when you do whatever you can to make your novel rock.
I say obnoxious because I’m the kind of girl who likes to be told what to do.  I like instructions, lists, guidelines.  You tell me to talk with an accent and I’ll ask what kind.  You tell me to type a band name into Pandora and I’ll sit there dumbly while I try to figure out which band I really want to type in until you just decide for me.  I’m the one who can’t pick her ice cream flavor without someone pointing something out, even if it’s something obvious like “ew, the broccoli ice cream looks nasty.”
Thus, hearing people tell me to rewrite without defining the term was like torture for me.  I yelled at Aaron several times, “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!?!?!?!”  I got out my red pen and my manuscript and started to change typos, inconstancies, flaws.  (Actually I meant to type inconsistencies right there but inconstancies works too.) After that, I just let it sit in my word processor for a few months.  After all, what was I going to do with it?  No one would tell me.
Now that I’ve come to terms with the infuriating idea that no one can exactly define it, I’ve started working on Islander.  Yep, from 2009.  It’s taken me long enough, wouldn’t you say?
I don’t really know what I’m doing.  I’m listening to a lot of How To Train Your Dragon and thinking a lot.  How can I make this Islander: Hero’s Tale into a novel? I ask myself every moment or so.  How do I transform this beast into bookstore material? How do I make people want to read this story?  How do I make it better?
I don’t know.  I’m trying though. I’ve listened to The Downed Dragon about 13 times tonight and Dragon Training at least 20, and so far I’ve got a brand new beginning, 1,478 words down, an idea of where we’re going, and a new character idea.  I’ve had an epiphany for how the chapters are going to be organized and labeled, and we can hope I’m getting somewhere.
Though "we can only hope" is more like it.
 “And that, dearest reader, is what hope is all about.”
Signing off,
Christina Icarus


  1. Good luck with your rewrites!
    And I like your new layout! It's pretty sweet.

  2. Aw, thanks!

    And I know, right? I got bored with the other one. I have a feeling it won't stay the same for long. :P