Each night, if the mood takes me, I’ll sit down with a big pad of paper and my laptop and work through the current version of the book chapter by chapter to see how it’s working. The disadvantage to pressing on with any rewrite and never looking back or stopping is that some of the ideas contained in the early going have since been scrapped completely later on and now mean nothing.
There has been one instance of removing a sentence in one chapter which felt like an easy decision only to find that it means that half of the next chapter is now redundant.
It’s has shaken me a little bit. Whilst the hardest part is done and I no longer have to deal with any blank pages it does mean that I’m discovering all the bugs. Certain characters change mindset on a dime right now and it’s those sort of problems I’m trying to iron out.
Momentum is important though.
When I was in primary school there was a book club each term. A few weeks before the holidays were due to start the teacher would pass around a small catalogue of titles that they were currently selling. Due to it being a school promotion each book had about twenty or thirty percent off the retail price. You’d put a tick next to whatever you wanted to buy, go home and convince your parents to supply the money which would then be passed on during the next school day. At the start of the next term the library van would pull up outside and drop off a big box with the all the books in. There was your book (or indeed books depending on if your parents felt generous that day or not).
It was through this method that I discovered quite a few titles including the Fighting Fantasy series but there was one from that time that I actually rediscovered a few days ago stuck in a cardboard box from my house move six months ago.
I recall wanting this one as soon as I clapped eyes on it. It has a price of £3.99 on the inside cover and it must have been about £3.50 or so to me at the time. It’s a collection of some short science fiction stories alongside some excerpts from longer titles. There’s a section from War of the Worlds which was probably my first exposure to H.G Wells, there’s The Wind From The Sun by Arthur C Clarke and also How We Were Tracked By A Tripod by John Christopher. I’ve sat for a few nights now just reading over these stories and reminding myself how brilliant they are. I’m rewriting the book now trying my level best to get it somewhere near the level presented here.
Does anybody else start a brand new, blank file when doing another rewrite? I don’t like going back into the original and just changing everything about on there. Instead I’ll use a fresh file and just cut and paste chapter by chapter. That way the progress is obvious.
I’ve yet to sit down and go through the latest draft bit by bit and work out what’s staying and what is hitting the road. My last blog entry detailed how I’d rewritten the first chapter. I then followed up with the second one being polished up a little. I don’t think I can go much further without sitting down with my laptop, pad and pen and then working out what each part is supposed to do and how well it actually does it. Once that’s done I can crack on with this (hopefully much easier) rewrite. After that I think it may actually be readable to the outside world.