The Home Stretch: Rewriting, Reconfiguring, and Generally Tearing My Hair Out

Afternoon, readers! Today I’m going to discuss rewriting, that ancient curse upon all writers… It’s inevitable. At some point, we all have to rewrite SOMETHING. If you can get through novel edits just revising and editing, then good for you. Also, I hate you.

This month has taught me a lot about writing. I already knew it was hard but now I’m discovering that, sometimes, it seems impossible. How does anyone write anything? How can you finish with enough sanity to submit to agents and editors and somehow survive the FURTHER ROUNDS OF EDITS to become published? It’s crazy. Anyone who does it is crazy, so, if you’re getting any ideas…

DON’T.

Writing will ruin your life. If you’re a normal person, trying it will ruin it just enough that you back away slowly and never return. But, if you’re just crazy enough, you’ll keep trying and failing and trying and failing until you do something. Something pretty okay, okay enough that someone might tell you WOW THIS IS AMAZING WHY AREN’T YOU PUBLISHED ASHDHROIKBFKJFBK.

And you won’t understand it. You could never understand it. That’s the curse of being a writer. You try as hard as you possibly can to shape the story into a recognizable shape, barely holding together in your eyes. You think, that’s as good as it gets and, with a sigh, you send it to other people to get fresh eyes on it. And sometimes they love it. They think it’s the greatest thing they’ve ever read. And since it’s yours, you don’t know how they can see that, because, to you, it’s just okay. Apparently, this is something all writers do. And if you think your own work is the greatest thing since sliced bread, it probably sucks. It’s very frustrating.

That’s just one of the things I’ve learned since starting Blood on My Hands (formerly titled Soulreader) in September 2013. This is the longest I’ve ever worked on a project, so I know it very well. I knew where it needed to be fixed, or shuffled, or deleted, and I’ve spent this month doing it (after a long procrastination period. Another thing writers excel at). And now I’m in the home stretch: the last 10 chapters to revise before sending it off to my critique partners and beta readers next week.

But there’s a slight hiccup.

Those ending chapters don’t need revision. They need a complete rewrite, thanks to my efforts changing some of the plot in earlier chapters. The original ending is not the way I want to go anymore (it was fairly weak to begin with, actually). Frustrating as that is (cue tearing out my hair), it’s okay. I have a general idea of what I want to see happen, and I’ve started outlining the new chapters. It’s all a part of writing a book, and I’m starting to accept that. Watching the evolution from my first draft to now is kind of insane. It’s changed so much but, at its heart, it’s still the same book. I’ve still got my Petra and Xavier, and they’re still the same people. Everything else falls into place around them.

I’d better get back to working on it now, in fact. This time next week when I check in again, I will be finished with draft 4 of Blood on My Hands (if all goes well)! Here’s to a smooth ending.

 

–Jenna

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About Jenna

I am 24 years old, with a bachelor's degree in English. I am currently querying a YA fantasy about assassins and magical powers, and I'm revising another YA fantasy based on Mayan civilization!
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