This is a continuation of my series of five things I wish I knew when I started writing. If you have just begun please see the first entry here.
2. Rewriting your work is a chore
One of the things that makes a writer a writer is rewriting. This is where the real work takes place. This is how a story molds into its final form. When writing, you can sit and put words down and worry about them later. Rewriting is the later you had to worry about. When I write I can create a page of text in a half hour or less if I am going at a good clip. When I am rewriting, there are times when I will meticulously scour every line or word of my writing just trying to get it right. It can take at least an hour or more to get a single page to the way I really want it. To steal a phrase from Hemingway, the hardest part of writing is “getting the words right.”
Just because rewriting is a chore, it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. I love rewriting. I have already done the hard part of making up the story that I am trying to get out there. When I rewrite I get to revisit scenes that I was excited to write and now I can make them better. I can tie everything together in that one little way that needs to exist so the story is whole.
When I rewrite I can add those transition scenes and take out the useless portions.
When I rewrote my novel, I started with 500 pages. When I was done, I whittled it down to just over 300. It was a chore, but those 300 pages are so much better than the original 500.
Come back tomorrow and see what number 3 is. Do you have any experiences with rewriting? What do you think about it?