(August 24 – 30)
Wrapped up a ten-day stretch of revisiting yet another old story this week. This is one I’ve already revisited once before, but somehow haven’t been able to get right—which is frustrating because I know there’s a good story in there.
This was another interesting editing process—a nip and tuck here, a lift and shift there.
However, there were two things that changed significantly during this rewrite. The story in question is probably one of the most descriptive that I’ve ever written, but on rereading it I noticed that there were some sections that fell a little flat in comparison (most notably, the opening of the story!). So I’ve gone through and really pushed the prose to its limit. The story is not about language, but there is a subtext about communication which probably makes the wordiness an appropriate stylistic choice.
The other change was to the main character. In the original version of the story, he has a bit of a secret agenda. During this rewrite, it began to seem rather superfluous so plucked out those threads. I find this interesting because it slightly changes the dynamic of the story, but in an entirely non-destructive way. It’s almost as if it never needed to be there in the first place …
Perhaps the part of the process I’m most proud of is the two huge chunks I cut out that really slowed things down. It’s never easy to excise words that you’ve slaved over, but it’s always satisfying to step away, with your knife dropping fresh prose, and see that you’ve done the right thing.