Rewriting is Writing...Again
This summer I finished the first draft of my YA manuscript. I did the research I needed, took the writing classes, joined a writing group, and now I have 306 pages of...mess, really. I had the story in my head, and I wrote it down, but so much of it still needs to be pieced together. Scenes are missing, the dialogue is dull and my characters are a little flat. It took me about a year to write this mess, and I am so proud of the chaos I've created. The task ahead of me now is to shape it. Line by line in excruciating measure. I'm rewriting it one chapter at a time. What does that look like?
For every page I've typed, most of it is crossed out with notes in the margins. Sometimes, a hand-written page of new material is on the opposite page. There are programs and apps to help me organize my work, and I've tried a few, but I need to feel it. Put my pen on it. Old teacher habits die hard, I guess. It's a long process, and I'm loving it. I'm learning a lot about editing, process, and structure. Mostly, I'm learning about my characters. They're developing into real people with real experiences, backstories, and voice. The more I edit and rewrite, the more my story changes. I'm not just adding commas and correcting grammar. I'm writing this story again. Better. Stronger. I may have to write it a few more times before I think it's ready to be sent to a publisher. Then who knows? I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best, I guess.