The philosophy I share with all students and editing/coaching clients? Anyone–ANYONE–can deconstruct and rewrite a manuscript. Anyone can learn to rework a story one element and scene and character at a time. Last week I shared some of my basic techniques for understanding the key characters in your completed story draft (at a high level). Click here and here for those posts, to catch up or refresh or try to niggle a bit more out of each one.
This week and next, we’re diving into the actual method of deconstructing. My method. The title of this series is HOW YOU RE-WRITE, and the overall blog category is HOW YOU WRITE. So, disclaimer time: this works for me and many of my clients and students, but the only way you’ll know if it works for you is IF YOU WORK ON REWRITING SOMETHING OF YOUR OWN. Eh-hem… Sorry, it’s a nit for me.
What’s the deal, you ask?
Just as a refresher: re-writing is hard; looking at what’s not working with your characters and plot points and themes and secondary everything can be a nerve-wracking, soul-sucking, insecurity-making exercise; and a lot of people listen but never try many of the basic, not-so-hard-to implement exercises I recommend. Which is too bad, because learning to rewrite (and we’re all ALWAYS learning, with every new project) is your job. It’s not an option. And I can’t tell you the number of clients who fade away or students whose enthusiasm wavers after a course ends or followers contact me years later to say they still haven’t finished that book they were working on back when, but they’ve started 5 new ones since…and not finished them, either.
Which is unfortunate, sad and avoidable. Just do the work (or in this case the re-work). Do it. We all have to. All of our pretty babies are drafted in the shadows of “ugly.”
It’s madness to think yours won’t, and inexcusable as an artist to let your creative drive for approval (especially your own) block you from learning and applying the craft that will better enable you to bring your unique voice and vision and stories to readers who are languishing these days, in a sea of often poorly-written, poorly constructed, badly delivered free or so-close-to-free-it-doesn’t-matter digital content.
Rant almost over. Except to say this: make what you create matter as viscerally and beautifully and impactfully (not a word, but you get the gist) as it can, by understanding it, honing it, and ruthlessly re-working it to the best of your ability. (more…)