(This is a mirror site of my webpage karenjcarlisle.com)

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Of Procrastination, Frustrations and Compromises

Rewrites. I hates them. Unfortunately they are a crucial part of writing. Without them, my work would be a stream of consciousness devoid of any consistency, order  or structure. It is just word vomit – getting ideas down on the page before it slips out of my head. One of my writing friends doesn’t like me calling it vomit. (I do apologise to her.) Technically it is called the first draft.

Every writer has a different method of rewriting the first draft. Some write their entire novel as first draft before revisiting any of the manuscript for a rewrite. Some rewrite every page as they go. I fall somewhere in the middle.

I had originally intended to write the entire manuscript of my steampunk novel before I attempted any rewrites. This changed as the work progressed. I wrote the first two chapters back to back. As I started the next chapter, I was feeling lost – not sure where to go or what had happened.  I had intended to keep plugging on but started feeling more frustrated. I procrastinated. Two weeks went by with no significant progress. Had I lost track of the plot?

After handing the rough chapters into my writers’ group (and received very useful feedback), I decided to return to the previous chapters and implement some suggested changes. This proved to be the tonic I needed. In returning to the rewrites, I had the opportunity to review where my characters were up to, make some needed changes and redistribute two pages of character background stream of consciousness. I felt in control again, having pulled together all the pieces.

I had to compromise some of the background as it was superfluous. I may reveal it later – if necessary.  Words finally started flowing again. I am now two chapters ahead and ready for rewrites after this draft is complete.  For now this seems to be working though I reserve the right to change my methods as need be.

I have now reached 27% of the projected word count for the manuscript of The Department of Curiosities and have lots of ideas still ready to spill on the page.  Though I hate doing rewrites, I must admit that I do have a huge sense of satisfaction when they are done. (I will probably voice my dislike for them right up until the final round of rewrites when I have completed the full manuscript.)

Number of rewrites for this blog: 5

Manuscript Word Progress:
Total Words:  
Revised Words: 
At 1st draft only:

Of Procrastination, Frustrations and Compromises

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