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Thursday, February 28, 2013

On Re-re-re-writing


Today I finished writing a book that I have finished writing at least three times before. Here’s how that works: I type, type, scroll up, scroll down, ponder, celebrate, pace, stew... And finally, when I'm sure I’ve got it right, I write THE END.

A few months later I take a look, expecting to be wildly impressed by myself, but.................  What time away from a manuscript does is erase all the things I thought I said and meant to say, leaving only what I actually said. The good intentions are gone, and only actual results remain. 

It’s not really like when the snow melts revealing thawing dog poop. It’s more like when the makeup, spanx and push-up bra are removed... No, that’s not it either. 

With fresh new eyes, or rested forgetful eyes, or perhaps older, weary eyes, the passage of time lets me -- or forces me to -- read my own manuscript and see only my manuscript!

After the cringy chagrin wears off, I attack the thing anew. 

Again, it gets better as the blinders of immersion re-form. 
Again, when  I’m sure I’ve said what I meant to say, and told no more or less than the story I meant to tell, I type THE END, really meaning it this time!

Then, when I am far enough from the process to no longer be reciting whole sections by memory instead of sleeping at night, I bring it up on the screen and.... EEK! WARTS!

The old warts haven’t returned, but new ones have sprouted! Or been revealed!

Ew! A little self-hate, a little humiliation in front of self. A little wine. A little pie. A little blaming the husband for some real or imagined transgression. Then, I’m back at it.

That said, I REALLY finished that book today. I mean seriously, for real this time! And it's absolutely perfect!

xo Amy

5 comments:

Kristen Kittscher said...

Three cheers! (and more when, after next month, you re-re-re-re-re-write it)

Another wonderful, funny, true post. Thank you.

Kristen Kittscher said...

Three cheers! (and there's more where that came from when you re-re-re-re-re-re-write it in a few months)

Another wonderful, funny, true post. Thank you.

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

It's nice to know pros like you struggle like us civilians.
Sincerely,
Rewrite, Rinse, Repeat

April Halprin Wayland said...

Oh, geez, AGK...you do all THAT?

Heck, on my coffee break I pound out a story, send it off, it's picked up by a major pub (think Random House), gets 4 starred reviews, wins all the big awards. You know the drill.

Or at least I thought you did. Sorry.

Susan Hawthorne said...

OMG so true :( sighs