Monday, March 5, 2012

The Rewrite

The dreaded rewrite...

This is perhaps the most frustrating part of writing, for me anyway.

After working with my editor for almost four hours, I decided my completed manuscript was headed in a direction that led to a dead end. 77,000 words and I didn't have a way to end the book in a satisfying way.


But, after much prayer and contemplation, I decided to go in the direction I had originally thought of back in 2009. With the help of my editor, this direction seemed to make the most sense.

What does that mean? It means setting aside 77,000 words and starting over.


It's a good thing I enjoy writing!  And it's also a good thing that, as an artist, I already know about starting over and how it can lead to a much better product in the end.

In art school, I had to complete at least 20 sketches for one painting before my instructor would even consider me ready to put paint to canvas. This was a new strategy for me since I usually just started painting without giving it much thought!

Not so...said my instructor. He was a master artist raised in Communist Cuba, so he knew something about discipline. He told me his art instructor made the students do push-ups as punishment for talking in class! Not in American classrooms. So, it took some getting used to his methods. But his methods had merit.

I became a better artist just from listening to his ideas and obeying his commands. I sketched...and sketched...and endured his harsh critiques.

So now, starting over doesn't mean the end of the world for me. It's just another step in the writing process. It means I am sketching out my idea before I put paint to canvas. It means stopping and standing back to look at my sketch and asking some questions: is it working?

I know I will have a better product in the end as a result of this discipline.

But most of all.....I will keep writing!!



  1. So proud of you! I know it isn't easy, but your product will be better in the end. Great attitude! :)

    1. Thanks Lindsay! I am learning the importance of letting go and letting God!

      It's fun though...

  2. I feel for you, Ruth. I've been where you are, and I know the overwhelming rush of emotions. Six weeks after the euphoria of my offer of representation, I returned to reality with a thud when my agent told me I needed to rewrite the final three-quarters of my story. I had to delete 86,000 words and start over. Was it hard? Yes. Was it worth it? Totally. I learned a great deal about structure during the rewrite and ended up with a marketable story, one my agent sold six weeks after she sent it out on submission.

    I admire you for your willingness to start over and trust that you'll end up happier with the new story than you were with the present version. I hope all your hard work yields leads to lots of good news.

    1. Wow Keli! You do feel my pain!

      That must have been hard to do, but I am glad you reaped the rewards of "letting go".

      I am already happier with the new first chapter to my book. Thank you for the well-wishes. I hope to report good news about this book on this blog one day soon!

      Thanks for visiting!

  3. Ruth,
    Love how you wove together the art of painting and the art of writing. And, yes, writing is rewriting -- and sometimes it is starting all over again. I've been there -- and I'll be there again, I know. Stay the course -- you are creating something beautiful.

    1. Thank you, Beth, for your encouragement! It helps, believe me.

      I will stay the course (she says to herself..) and keep learning the craft. It's the discipline that makes us better writers.

      Thanks for visiting!

  4. I've tagged you at my blog, c'mon by!