Wednesday, 10 November 2010

I'm not dead I'm rewriting...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.

I thought I'd neglected this blog in the past but - really - no updates since 19 July? Shocking!

So yes, while my blog has slightly decomposed over the last few months I'm very much alive.

The truth is that, while my editor loved the changes I made to novel 2 while I was at the writing retreat in Ireland in the summer, she felt that it needed a bit more work before it was ready to move on to the copyediting stage. Work that has involved me removing two fairly central characters and jiggling the plot around a bit to make it stronger without them.

I've been slogging away at the rewrite since August and it hasn't been easy. I haven't had to rewrite a novel before - 'Heaven Can Wait' didn't need more than a few tweaks here and there before it went press - so it's been a whole new learning experience. It's also been the longest I've ever worked on a novel. It'll be two years in December since I started this book.

If coming up with the idea for a novel is like meeting the man of your dreams and getting started on the first chapter is like falling in love I'm currently at the 'moving in and realising he leaves wet towels on the bed' stage. What I mean is - I can still remember why I fell in love with this novel originally but we've spent so much time together now I'm fully aware of its flaws.

So what's this rewrite? A holiday somewhere tropical to try and reignite the romance? Surprise breakfast in bed? Probably more like couples counselling (not that I've ever been). Tough, tricky, frustrating but, if you get through it successfully (and now is not the time to tell me you got divorced after couples therapy!), you're a little bit more in love at the end. And proud - proud that you worked hard and got through a difficult stage.

I'm over a third of the way through the rewrite now and I'm feeling optimistic. The first 30,000 or so words were always going to be the most difficult as the two culled characters featured heavily in them and, although I've still got 50,000 words left to go, I feel like I'm on the home straight.

8 comments:

Chris Stovell said...

Yay! All power to your rewrite - well done for slogging on through... and so heartening to read about someone admitting it's a labour of love not something just pretending it just happened. Hang on in there!

Chris Stovell said...

Sorry - should be someone not something - very tired from a very little sleep!

Jenny Beattie said...

Yes, ditto what Chris said. It can feel as though these things 'just happen.' It gives me strength in my own never ending novel to know that that isn't always the case. Good luck with the rest of it Cally.

Queenie said...

Great to hear from you. Sounds as if you're having 'that difficult second novel' syndrome - and beating the hell out of it. Good for you! Keep it up!

Sue Guiney said...

Hey - good to see you here again! This sort of big rewrite is so hard. I can feel it like a rock in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it:-) But when it's gotta' be done it's gotta' be done (remind me of those brilliant words when my next time comes around :-) ) But it sounds like you're getting close. Go! fight! Win!

Karen said...

Re-writing can be such a killer - I was completely sick of my characters by the time I'd finished!

Great that you're on the home stretch (well almost!) now :o)

Cally said...

Chris/Jenny - Slog is a good word for it. I'm glad it was heartening to read this post. People have been reading my blog since the very beginning and I want to show the reality of getting published - the rough and the smooth. Writing doesn't become easy just because you're a published author, if anything it gets harder (in my experience anyway!).

Queenie - There's a good reason why the phrase Second Novel Syndrome is bandied around so much, because it happens so often. I'm just relieved I'm not the only author in the world to suffer from it. Let's hope there's no Third Novel Torment!

Sue - Thanks for the empathy, I appreciate it. Just got to put my head down and plough on through.

Karen - I know that feeling!

Kerry said...

Really happy you're back Cally...as someone who's taken a few *ahem* extended blog holidays I know getting back in is hard and I also know I'm not the only one who's found your blog helpful, honest and very funny. Regarding rewrites you are welcome to my oh so intellectual mantra, 'Just keep swimming.' xx