(Also posted on One Bite at a Time.)

I read the first chapter of the book I’m revising last night. (I have a strict and probably over-complicated regimen for edits such as this that I might describe some day, if I think it won’t make me look too geeky.) Tonight I’ll edit what I read last night.

My writing style has changed a lot. The previous book and the WIP are multi-POV stories that needed a much different voice from this first-person PI tale. I found myself wondering if it read too leisurely, though that hasn’t been a complaint before. I’m also reading James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover for a review right now, and falling out of an airplane seems leisurely compared to that. I’m keeping an open mind.

The real challenge I see is in revisiting a work that has been “finished” for so long. I like these characters, and this story. I’m pleased the writing itself holds up as well as it does in my eyes, considering how much my writing has changed since it was written. On the other hand, I’ve read this book more often, and more closely, than the pope has read the Bible. I was mentally and emotionally finished with it, and I can’t afford to let that make me sloppy.

This project is either going to be a lot of fun, or a real pain in the ass. Probably both.

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Tags: a, editing, sacrifice, small

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Comment by Dana King on November 3, 2009 at 2:27am
I'm a few chapters in so far, and it's been fun. Not a lot to change, the writing held up well, but I was still able to find some trimming and clarifying, which made me happy on both levels.

Tonight's the first night to require substantial changes. We'll see how it goes.
Comment by Eric Christopherson on October 31, 2009 at 6:21pm
I rewrote my first novel after completing my second, and I had fun with it more often than not. I definitely improved it because my skills were better the second time around and I was less attached to individual scenes, lines, etc.
Comment by Donna Carrick on October 31, 2009 at 10:49am
Well said, John. Or as the song says, "Life goes on after the thrill of living is gone." Equating that to the writer's life, whether we sell or not, whether we love editing or research or not, we still have to keep right on going if we want to call ourselves writers.

Dana, I REALLY get what you are saying about having removed yourself some time ago intellectually and emotionally from the "finished" work. I have a very hard time re-bonding with a novel after I've let it go. The repeated readings and re-workings (and I do many of them) usually leave me exhausted.

Poetry, now, is a different matter. I find I can re-read and still love those pieces no matter how much time passes.

Probably because they don't 'weigh' quite as much...
Comment by John McFetridge on October 31, 2009 at 7:34am
You're from Pittsburgh, right? Maybe you remember when Chuck Knoll said, "All that rah rah bullshit only lasts till the first time you get knocked on your ass, then you have to get up and keep playing." Or words to that effect. I always liked the sentiment that whatever you do, the excitement does wear off and you still have to keep going. If you're lucky, it gets exciting again.

So it'll probably be both a pain the ass and a lot of fun.

Good luck with it.

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