November 1, 2013

If you think you should rewrite it, you should.

Dear M,

After we finish our first draft, or while we are writing it, we get a feeling that certain areas need to be re-visited later. We mark them for future reference. And when we come back to rewrite and polish the draft, we try to pay more attention to these areas. As we continue to edit, we discover other areas where paragraphs of text need to be rewritten or moved from a certain page and inserted elsewhere where it would be more appropriate.

All this is easier said than done. We know the backbreaking effort that went into getting the first draft to be worthy of being called a first draft. Now looking at all the two hundred or three hundred pages of it, having to rewrite some of them seems almost revolting.

We still trudge forward, sifting through the junk and the brilliance of our words, modifying, rewriting, removing, improving.

Yesterday, I completed one round of editing on my MS that brings me as close as possible to the final version (which means, I am hoping that my editor would not bring up any more discrepancies in the story!). My editor had left a couple of comments for me to improve the plot - she had raised a few questions. It struck me that her comments had zoomed into focus the very passages that I had noticed during my last edit. I had hovered for long over those, wondering if I should change them, pull them up from here and place them elsewhere. That would involve a lot of work - and I said to myself that it was okay, the text could survive where it was (I really was tired of editing the whole damn story a million times). And what happened? The editor noticed it as soon as she read it, and made her observation on it.

The point here is, as an author if you feel some change is required, then a change certainly needs to be done. We convey more than we think, and our uncertainty in those passages would come through to the reader, as clear as daylight. If I had done those changes in the last edit, I would not have had to visit those passages again. I changed them now, and also rewrote some others that I noticed. I hope there are no more left and that I can throw this MS away once and for all. Looking at the same story again and again and again is exhausting, boring and disgusting too (especially when it is our own), believe me. Better rewrite and polish as much as possible before we let another pair of eyes fall on it.


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  1. I agree! I have felt the same many times (even though I am not a writer) when I write about my designing projects.