Monday, 27 December 2010

Rewriting or not....

As Ernest Hemingway once said 'The first draft of anything is shit.' So I have a complete first draft of a novel and parts of it are shit and I need to do rewrites. This novel is the creative part of my PhD thesis which is to be examined at some point in 2011 by an esteemed academic, it has also got some interest by a publishing company who wish to see it when it is PhD submission ready. And therein lies the problem. I know how important it is that I get these rewrites right and it seems to be this knowledge has put so much pressure on my creativity that it is now frozen in time. I can vaguely see those bright ideas that I had but they are now sealed within a perfect, glinting icicle, just out of reach. The harder I try to get to them the further away they become.

Logically, I know I should walk away and not worry as they will happen. But that is the other problem, I have a time limit on this. I had a bright idea that I would do the rewrites over the Christmas break and then do the huge pile of marking and planning for next semester. So each day I can't write just seems to add to the pressure.

Whoever said writing a novel was easy were partly right. Getting the first draft was hard work but achievable but then doing the rewrites....well...what can I say! Almost impossible, which of course is rubbish as there wouldn't be any books published if people never managed the rewrites so I just need to get on with it.

If you have any thoughts or approaches to rewrites I would love to hear them and maybe then I can defrost this icicle and get on with doing what I want to do and that is to make this story a special one.

1 comment:

  1. I found it easier to do it on a hard, paper copy first, otherwise I was in danger of tweaking things and forgetting why they were there. Then you could set a timer for one hour, work from the beginning of the manuscript, marking up smaller changes on the text itself but also having a notepad for things you're not sure about changing straight away, but might come back to. After one hour take a break. If you can, do another hour. Then take a break and do your teaching work for a bit. The size of the task is what is so daunting, so break it up. The other problem is doing the same work in the same place. I know you don't have a lot of options of alternative work spaces, but at least completely pack away one bit of work when you're working on the other, so you can't see it and let your mind wander across to it. Count to three, take a deep breath and plunge in. The water's lovely! Hx