Sunday, October 09, 2005

The Death Cry of the First Draft

I've been pointlessly mulling over whether or not I should adopt this new plan for the rewrite; this altered, simplified, tighter, boiled-down (more predictable?) plot line. It's pointless because the current attempt at plot is, well, a mess. What is it I'm afraid to lose?

I find some part of myself wanting to read through the whole draft again. Do I not remember rolling my eyes at about half of it and sighing heavily along with my characters through the other half? Besides, I've already taken all the pages out of order (so I kind of have read it twice). I fantasize about a way: instead of writing whole new scenes, I can just, ya know...cut ten thousand words or so, add a few sentences here or there (or just rewrite the sentences that already exist, one by one.) Am I under the false hope that maybe, if I make the sentences sound 'literary' enough, I could pull it off? The answer is obviously No.

But it's not me, it's the mass of paper sitting there, begging not to be ravaged through, the meaningful parts separated messily from their original contexts, like some reality show where everyone's conversations are edited to create a new conversation, the complete opposite of reality, and when the participants watch they say, "It wasn't like that!" "First Draft" is trying to claim its own reality or something, its own "rights" as opposed to its contribution to the final product. Really, it's my ego that's all enmeshed into those pages; but you could have told me that, I'm sure. (God, am I having an its/it's obsession? I still need to learn awhile/a while..)

At the same time, I'm so excited about this new opportunity to recraft the story. Not just cut a bunch of paragraphs and stitch the disattached pieces together. I mean, they say kill your darlings. It's crazy: I know how crappy it is, these are most definitely not my darlings, and I still feel sentimental towards the damn thing. Words have such power. :P The good news is, I know there is at least one scene (out of a now proposed 36) that will stay, for the most part, intact. Also on the plus side, one of the characters that I cut had a name that was too similar to the main character's name (they both ended in the "ee" sound) so I don't have to go about changing her name everywhere - she no longer exists in the rewrite.

Do you know what I worry about? That I'll die and someone is going to go through all my crappy-ass writing. And more importantly, my journals. (Of course that co-exists with the idea that someone, anyone, would find it intriguing and I would be posthumously appreciated - one can dream morbid dreams, can't she?)

Well...I may indulge myself with one more reading of the draft. I haven't decided yet, I don't want to be hasty about it. But I don't think it's going to seduce me at all. It might be like running into that unkempt, ugly, annoying person you met a long time ago and noticing that she's even more flawed and annoying than she was before, and you're just trying to protect yourself from the horrible glare.

In other news, I'm thinking more about the next novel too...some new stuff sort of came up today (reading is an excellent tool for inspiration) that I think I'll pursue further with some notes tomorrow. My working title for Novel number 2 is Shiny Metallics. I don't yet have a set title for my first one, but I'll get there eventually. I'd like to be significantly through the rewrite by the time November comes, so I can focus on the next one and let the rewrite rest in the drawer for a while (did I use that right? I can't remember).


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