Thursday, 30 July 2009

Things to Do on a Difficult Rewrite Anne Cassidy

Things to Do On a Difficult Rewrite

1. Change the font. This makes it look like a different book.

2. Change the names of the main character. Just press ‘Replace’ and suddenly you’ve got a brand new heroine called Elizabeth instead of ‘Kelly’.

3. Spend weeks cutting and pasting on the understanding that the story was really good you just told it in the wrong order.

4. Don’t do any housework.

5. Drink a lot of red wine.

6. Be horrible to your loved ones.

7. Go into bookshops. Search for your books and look at the finished product. You did it last time – you can do it again.

8. Look at the first chapter closely –yep, that’s OK. Look at the last chapter – that’s OK too. It’s just the bit in between that’s the problem.

9. Consider the fact that maybe it’s too grown up for your audience. Remove sex and violence.

10. Consider the possibility that it’s too young for your intended audience. Add sex and violence and themes about the existence of god.

11. Cry.

12. Go away for a weekend and walk along a windy beach until you experience a moment of clarity. The novel’s not working. It’s not convincing. You’re going to have to rewrite vast sections of it.

13. Rewrite vast sections of it.


Elen Caldecott said...

Very funny! Thanks for this, made me grin through the rotten cold that is keeping me from doing my own edits (cold NOT swine flu!!)

Anne Rooney said...

Funny indeed - thank you, Anne. Didn't you miss out 'toss whole book in the bin and decide to write a different one... find different one is just as hard'? Or is that just me?

adele geras said...

Yup! You are definitely on the button here! Very amusing and also very familiar!

Anonymous said...

So which point are you at now, Anne?

Helena Halme said...

So true. I did most of this when rewriting my last manuscript. Now I await responses from carefully selected agents, those from a-b in Writer's & Artists yearbook.

Weronika said...

I'll have to make sure to remember that there are, in fact, some great options for struggling through a difficult rewrite. I tend to throw my hands up in the air and walk away.

Thank you, Anne! Hope you're having a great week.

catdownunder said...

(1) Clean fur - pay special attention to the tip of the tail and the third left whisker.
(2) Find a comfortable place for a nap.
(3) Take nap.
(4) Clean fur again.
(5) Go in search of something nice to eat.
(6) Bother human until given real tuna out of their tin.
(7) Eat tuna.
(8) Clean fur paying special attention to all whiskers this time.
(9)Sit on lap of human and watch the cursor go across the screen.
(10) Fall asleep again.
Stop procrastinating and put paws to work.

Katherine Roberts said...

If you suffer from serious lack of confidence at rewrite stage, another trick is to grab your favourite best-seller (written by top-selling Famous Author) and type a few pages into your computer using exactly the same font and layout you usually do for your own manuscripts. Then print these pages out on your own printer in the usual way, sit down with your red pen and pretend you are "rewriting" them.

Sounds backwards, I know! But it can help to remember that even the best book in the world that has sold ten zillion copies and everyone LOVES was once a fragile manuscript going through exactly the same coffee-stained process as yours...

Nicky said...

I think I fast forward to the the red wine and the despair!

Linda said...

Yep - done all that. What's next on the programme?