It should come as no surprise to any of you that my approach to writing is rather emotional (I approach the rest of life rather emotionally as well, not just writing but that’s an entirely different story).
So when something is wrong with a story, EVERYTHING else is wrong too. The kids are a nuisance, the husband is a git, the house is a tip. Life itself becomes one giant pain.
But, on the other side of the coin, when the story is going right, EVERYTHING else is just fabulous. The kids are well behaved, the husband is a doll, the house is spotless. Nothing is a problem.
Anyway, as you can imagine from my last couple of posts, I have encompassed the full emotional spectrum due to my wretched stories and I’m sure my family would now like to lock me away if only for a bit of peace and quiet.
However, I’m sure they’ll be relieved to know that – for the moment – I’m okay. Because I’ve just spent the entire weekend rewriting the beginning of the story that gave me such a wonderful ‘aha’ moment about the heroine. I knew it needed to be done because although the beginning I had was okay – my CPs liked it – I still felt funny about it. Couldn’t put my finger on why. Couldn’t really even articulate the specific problem. Perhaps there was too much setup. Too much going on. Too busy. Whatever it was, I just had a funny feeling about it (cue the ‘I hate the rest of my life too’ moans).
Now, when it comes to rewriting, there are two schools of thought (or possibly more but I can’t think of any others right now). You either don’t need to rewrite as much as you think. Or you should rewrite entirely. Although the former can be very attractive after you’ve spent months crafting the perfect ms, the latter, for me at least, can be exactly what you need.
Maisey Yates gave me the best advice – rewriting entirely can help you break out of the cage you’ve written yourself into. It’s hard but it feels like you’re starting over and that can give you a lot of freedom. It was certainly the best thing for this particular ms. I rewrote chapters 2 and 3 completely. Different things happened. They didn’t go out, they stayed in. The kiss I had happening at the end of chapter 3 didn’t occur. It was like writing a whole new reality for them. But the best thing was allowing myself the freedom to let the characters be who they were, not me trying to impose what I thought they should do on them (which, I figure, was the problem with the original iteration) or what was good for the plot I had planned.
Anyway, the sum total of this is that now, having rewritten, I no longer have that funny feeling about the beginning. It’s not perfect and it may not be at all what the editors want. But it feels more true to the characters than the earlier one. In fact, it’s a beginning I’m not sure I could rewrite again since what I’ve already got is IT.
In Chez Ashenden, all is now right with the world. At least until I run into the next story problem. 🙂
So, when you run into a writing problem, what do you do? Pull your hair? Scream at the kids? Throw the computer through the window? Or rewrite?