Oh Boy! Just You Try and Stop Me!

Actually I've written two novels - in addition to Invisible Driving, my memoir of manic depression - Moonlit Tours and Washed Up.  Naturally I obsessed over both of them, they've each been rewritten easily five times - I mean verbatim - COMPLETELY rewritten.  It's an exciting process, much like taking a bath with Catherine Daneuve when she was 19.  NOT!

I'll be returning to rewrite them real soon - right after I pound nails into my hand with a hammer and stick my head in a bucket of piranha fish.

ElLagarto ElLagarto
56-60, M
9 Responses Aug 7, 2007

You might really get a lot from writing about it. The scary part of Mania is the loss of control - the involuntary behavior. (It's like somebody else has jumped into the driver's seat.) But the exciting part is the intense outpouring of ideas - also beyond control. It's like a waterfall of thoughts, sensations, feelings, creativity - and there is so much to learned from it. The problem is, it's hard to learn when you've got a tiger by the tail.

Thanks! Glad to be of service. Here's another one - I'm surprised I forgot it - especially knowing your tastes a bit. Try reading passages aloud. Notice where you stumble and trip, fix those spots. You want it to flow as smoothly as a river - it should only be jarring when you want it to be. Listen for the internal beat, rhythm, and music of the language. When it's really tight, it's so beautiful to read and hear you don't even give a d*mn what's being said. (Now go out there and kill!)

*highlighting*<br />
*copying*<br />
*pasting*<br />
*printing*<br />
*thumbtacking on to wall by desk*<br />
<br />
This is f****** great. It revs me up - I have to go write now.

A discussion perhaps better taken off-line as there is a lot to it. But for starters - As Wilde said, "Brevity is the soul of wit." Never use 3 words when 2 will do. Remember the advice of de Maupassant who reminded us to avoid our "darlings" - that is - those overly clever phrases we use that we fall in love with simply because they demonstrate our talent - NOT advance the story. Remember that the best writing - like other crafts - is invisible, it does not call attention to itself. In other words, when one listens to Keith Jarrett play the piano, one does NOT spend the entire time thnking - "Gee, I bet he went to Juliard because his technical abilities are stunning" - one is simply seduced by the music itself. Make it as good as you can and then stop - over-editing is as bad as under-editing. Find one great detail to do the talking, not 10 mediocre ones - time is tight. Make dialogue REAL - listen to how people talk in real life - they almost never speak grammatically and rarely express themselves elegantly or even accurately. Cut out the midle man - be your own harshest critic. Look at a page when it's done and ask yourself this question - "Does it bore me? Does it hold my interest?" If it bores YOU, it will almost certainly bore your readers. Good luck, Humdinger, I have every confidence in you. p.s. Write when you feel like it - and when you don't. Even if you're off your feed, there may be nuggets you can shine up later.

"It's an exciting process, much like taking a bath with Catherine Daneuve when she was 19. NOT!"<br />
<br />
HAHAHAHA! <br />
<br />
I'm a fur piece into my learning curve with rewriting. I have some songs I've rewritten 18-20 times, and it's giving me the fortitude to start on a book. It will be me sitting down with essays, scraps, and scraplets and beginning to cobble together a larger work that will then keep me busy writing and rewriting right into, oh, 2015?.<br />
<br />
I want details, fellas, tips, insights, straight dope on how to survive this process and discharge my aesthetic duties with honor.

Definitely understand the "love-hate" thing - can't live with it, can't live without it. The process does take you to interesting places sometimes, that ultimately benefit the project.

I've been making experiences! <br />
I found the first 150 pages of my novel pretty boring, cut three days from my protagonists life and eliminated two viewpoints(and two whole characters) that are not really necessary. The result is a streamlined 60 pages of reasonable material. I know that the further I get through the re-write, the better the quality of the original material and the less I'll cut. It has been one heck of a learning experience; I aim to cut at least twenty percent and I think that will be easy. Sometimes I wrote intros for my own sake, just to get into the characters head…those bits are easiest to cut…<br />
It’s a love hate thing.

Smebro! Where you bin at? As they don't say. All writing is rewriting, sometimes it's agony. I think the hard part is knowing when you're done - when you should just leave well enough alone. -- There is one technique that has served me well though, you might find it useful, too. If I'm reading a page - and it's boring ME - I figure, chances are good it will bore my reader too. So I keep working on it until at least I find something interesting in it.

Sometimes I'm like 'oh, that was fun-I really tidied that mess up’…other times I sit there looking at the paper in front of me and the screen and I consider the hundred of pages left and I want to rip my hair out. Ah well, such is the craft.<br />
Oh boy! Fun has a new name: re-write!