Monday, 1 October 2012

The challenge of re-writing

So things have moved on since I last blogged.

I went for a meeting with Agent the Second, screwing up my courage and ducking out in my lunch hour to arrive at a building I've walked past so many times before but didn't realise was a Literary Agents.

Agent the Second greeted me and we went to his office. Turned out he was a human being after all, not some ravenous hellbeast intent on destroying me and ripping my story to shreds. We discussed what he'd already told me in the email, pulling apart what he thought was good and what he thought was bad. As I said in last month's blog, I agreed with him.

'This isn't tweaking you've got to do', he said to me. 'We're talking a complete re-write. Is that something you'd be comfortable with? Or would you rather move onto something else?'

'I think I can do it,' I replied. 'I've worked on this story too long to give up on it now.'

And that's how we left it, my head whirling with how I could rewrite the story if I had to start from scratch. A new, superior version, avoiding all the mistakes of the previous version. Could I even do it?

A week off helped and when I got back I was full of fresh ideas and even a little enthusiasm.

So that's what I'm doing at the moment, re-imagining a story I've written again and again for the past six(?) years.

It's a very strange process and to be honest, I'm not all the way into yet. I'm still in the initial chapters, where the story is pretty much the same except for a few changes here and there which will add up to a completely different book later on.

It's coming out very different, which is interesting. Things are occurring to me, issues and scenes, that were never there in the previous drafts and never would have been. I'm a different person now to the young lad who started this story and so different things are arising as I write. There's part of me rebelling, part of me saying 'but that's not what happened. This happened.' But I'm hoping that will quieten down the further into it I get. There's part of me that worries that what will come out at the end of this will be merely a diluted version of what came before. But again, we'll just have to see.

It's certainly strange having someone like Agent the Second to send things to. I have to resist the urge to send him every chapter as soon as I've done it, like a cat with a dead bird. I'm concerned that having such a person has robbed me a little of my fear of rejection, something that spurred me on to create the best story I could.

So that's a lot of worries and concerns to deal with.

I guess I'll just have to deal with that too. It's true what they say, each stage along the route just leads to different problems.


Bully said...
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damo said...

Its a pretty interesting situation, and glad to see that you aren't giving up on this story, or shying away from the prospect of the re-write.

Obviously the intention is to not only be a good story teller, but get to the point where your first run through to the agent/publisher is straight away at tweaking/short re-writes. But that experience of doing a complete re-write and getting the acceptance on that story could provide invaluable information and experience moving forward.

There's the danger of being overly attached to an idea, which is true of many various walks of life, but I think you do need to attempt to convert it to see the value in it.

Even looking at the negative, the re-write doesn't hit the mark, there is huge value in that (and may come quickly in the process). Is it worth the time, can you detach yourself from so many of the aspects you put into, and possibly love, from the first run through. So on and so forth.

There are benefits and negatives to both sides, but I think its a positive choice, and glad to see you are sticking to it.