17/08/2012

RE-WRITING Helter-Skelter

Gosh, this is hard work!
I am re-writing my novel Helter-Skelter. An agent was keen enough on it to say I could re-submit if I made certain changes. My initial reaction was, as you might imagine, that I thought it was perfect as it was, but on reflection and after a good long think, I could see the agent's point of view. A good story that needs more work.
The plot is the same - the main character keeps his identity and his eventual fate remains unchanged - but I need to shift the emphasis.
In effect this means re-writing a lot of the book whilst keeping the same goal in mind. I have to strengthen the plot and squash my tendency to resolve difficulties too quickly. I dislike confrontations but they make a story more interesting, so if A falls out with B they must remain at loggerheads rather than resolving their differences too quickly.
But there are also passages - indeed, whole chapters - that hardly need changing, and that's what's so hard. Shifting from one gear to another - editing and tightening up one day, removing entire characters and swaths of extraneous waffle another day, re-writing and inserting a whole new plot-line on a third.
The agent was complimentary about my writing, as others have been, which helps to keep my spirits up, but my brain hurts!

9 comments:

  1. Good luck Liz!

    As you well know it's the agent / publisher's opinions that matter - not yours.

    As an avid reader I look from new authors (and I am always looking) for a good yarn, interesting and credible characters and importantly (for me) excellent prose.

    I look forward to the next re-writing chapter.

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  2. I am doing the same with my book. It's hard work!

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  3. Which book is that shirley? Is yours a novel too?

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  4. Rework can be tedious, but it can also bring a little excitement with it as you head off in a new direction. Good luck!

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  5. A lot of hard work, but hard work usually pays off. You are lucky to have an agent who believes in you and I am sure that will help you get the job done. It in't easy living abroad and writing in another language, even if it is english.Have a great week-end.

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  6. Once you get established in the new voice, you'll find it much easier to go from those passages which are fine to those that need to be completely flattened and rebuilt. I love the editing process - your task would have me jumping for joy.

    I'm stuck on a first sentence at the moment!

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  7. Annalisa- stuck on a first sentence? Forget it and write the first chapter - the sentence will come. Or we could swap?

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  8. Ooh, no, I couldn't ignore the first sentence - that tells me everything I need to know about the narrator, tense, tone. Without the first sentence I don't even know who's speaking!

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  9. That's great news that the agent was intereted enough to suggest you resubmit after the changes. It is hard work of course but I suppose it's a case of keeping your eye on the prize.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on!

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