Yes, I know, rebeggining isn’t a word. But that’s how it seems when you set aside your manuscript for a couple of months, then pick it up again to rewrite it. Everything is fresh, and you almost feel like you’re reading a book written by someone else. And that’s the key idea – the only way to do a proper rewrite is to come at the work as objectively as humanly possible. If it’s not humanly possible, train your cat to do it.Because you have to put yourself in the skin of a first-time reader in another city or country. Rewriting can turn a work from good to great, from interesting to a page-turner, from meh to wow. (Or, if you’re using the cat method, from meh to meow.)
So today I start the rewriting process for my Young Adult novel Silent Symmetry. I used to think that rewriting was a chore, but now I find it the most exciting part of writing. Why? Because this is my chance to kick it up a notch, catapult it to greatness, and… a bunch of other overused idioms.
Who knows how long it will take. When I write a first draft, my usual habit is to rewrite the previous session’s output before starting the next chunk, so there has already been some superficial rewriting that should have removed a great many mistakes and clunky turns of phrase.But the advantage of setting the novel aside since late May and coming at it afresh today is that I will truly be able to get a feel for the flow. Did I overuse a verb or adjective? Are there places where the action lulls? Are there other places where I skimmed a scene and could add more detail? All these questions and more will be answered over the next few weeks.
Besides, I have no choice. I don’t have a cat.