Edits and Rewrites

     I feel like a masochist. Rewrites and edits – what sort of man derives pleasure from this? I’d rather be out playing with rabid dogs. But there is work to be done.
     So the dogs will have to wait.
     Meanwhile I find myself in the middle of rewrites on my new novel (which I believe will be shortened to a novella eventually when all the editing is complete).
     And it’s a massive undertaking. But there is no other way around it; the only way to do it, and do it right, is to sit down and hit it head on. Only I can’t help but feel as if there should be more time dedicated to this process – weeks, months, years. Editing, the first time through, is not merely the process of rearranging a few sentences; or replacing a comma here with a semi-colon there.
     No. I find myself removing whole parts, paragraphs, chapters even; and what is being revealed is a novel which I didn’t see the first time through. The shape has changed. And what has emerged feels like a better novel. The whole thing feels tighter, with the flow and rhythm doing a better job at pulling the reader along. Before there were too many words. Too much waste.
  I hate waste. As a writer I have always imagined myself as a musician, or something resembling a musician. And what I’m writing is a punk rock song. Short. Minimal in its words, each word chosen for its effect and not merely for its style. The reader can’t be allowed to grow bored. Emotions must be evoked. Don’t linger. Throw punches in combinations, hit and keep moving. Always remember – a hundred adjectives used to fatten a line doesn’t make for a better line.
     But editing – even when performed with complete conviction for a better novel, is a frustrating process. Why did I write this? I find myself asking. What purpose did that sentence serve? Or that word? Why that word? That word is all wrong. It breaks the flow and is as out of place as a nun in a whorehouse. It only distracts the reader and pulls them out of the story. So I take a chainsaw to it and dismember the nun.
     Words are lost. Sentences cut. Whole chapters forgotten.
     Edit. Rewrite. Try to maintain the soul while dissecting the body.
     It’s the only way to do it.

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2 thoughts on “Edits and Rewrites

  1. ” It breaks the flow and is as out of place as a nun in a whorehouse.” That made me laugh. How does this one feel compared to California Punk?

    • It’s a good old fashion horror story. Something light and fast. When i wrote i was listening to a lot of Misfits. So it has the feel of a fast horror punk song. Which I like. And it’s told from a third person narrative; as much as I enjoyed the first person narrative from California Punk, I believe the first person narrative is over used nowadays.

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