This week I finally finished the rewrites of the opening of my novel. It still needs polishing, of course, but I’ve managed to bend it and reshape it into something a bit more streamlined, while (hopefully) adding more tension and conflict. I know that the majority of the time it’s taken me has been due to not actually sitting in front of the keyboard, but the head space it’s taken up has been consistent and demanding. I think it’s been over a month that I’ve been staring at this, figuring out how to make it behave.

 If I continue at that rate, I’ll be editing and rewriting this book for approximately three more years. Obviously, I like to think that won’t be the case. I’m telling myself that this is the worst of it, that having reshaped this initial segment, the rewriting of the rest of the story will follow more easily. The biggest lie I’m telling myself is that this the part that needs the most rewriting and the rest of the book needs less work than this.

And what comfort there is in this lie! I wrote the story sequentially, starting at the beginning and progressing to the end, just like you’d read it. So surely it’s just this little piece, where an inexperienced Erin, newly returned to writing, made her biggest missteps. As that past Erin found her groove and the story got flowing, certainly her writing improved as she went and will need less and less work as it progresses.

While there’s probably at least some truth there, I seriously doubt it’s as simple as that. As I’ve worked on the beginning, I’ve certainly kept in mind where this ends up and am trying to make the ending and beginning work better together. Just the same, it would be naïve of me to think that when you redirect the beginning of the river, it will follow the rest of its course without alteration.

The rewrites of the first chapter have already led to some thoughts about what needs to change in the second. Most of it, thankfully, is cutting extraneous bits. But there’s definitely places where I’m going to need to add some elements to continue with a theme I started building up in chapter one. And that, necessarily, leads to some changes in dialogue in chapter three. I haven’t thought much beyond that yet, but it’s already enough to realize I’m lying to myself to believe the worst of the rewrites are over because this is only changes for a single plot point. As the book progresses and more layers get added, I’m sure additional things are going to need tweaking.

It’s a really daunting task. I’m still hopeful that with this first little bit done, I can start finding my groove in this new process. It took me a while to find it for writing the book and it took more time to find it when I first started editing. I guess it stands to reason that it will take time to find my way with rewrites too. My biggest hope at this point is just that when I start the second book in the trilogy, I’ll have learned enough lessons with this one that I won’t have nearly as much to clean up after the initial writing. That might turn out to be another lie I’m telling myself, but a girl can dream.

2 thoughts on “First Hurdle, and More Lies I Tell Myself

  1. Dave Foster

    The whole editing process (plus the launch work) is more tension than I like, for sure. I’ve been saying ‘launch starts next week’ to myself for a month and a half.
    It seems as if every time I think it’s done (or close) I have to come to a full, screeching, tire-smoking halt because my ‘production team’ says, ‘one more little thing’ needs doing’. Right now, I have to come up with 4 or 5 blogs pre-written for the website that SHOULD have been live last week … PLUS get a new head shot for the website and Kickstarter page.
    Let’s meet at the Saturday group and exchange author’s whines … maybe it’ll help. I’ll buy you a beer (or similar necessary elixir).

    1. Erin

      No one warned us when we started of all the non-writing work that goes in to writing, did they? Good luck with the launch Dave, hopefully it all comes together soon! I’ll see you Saturday for whining and elixirs 🙂

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