Saturday, December 13, 2008

Rewrite Hell

I. Am. In. It.

Now, I do 99% of my writing on my laptop. I have an AlphaSmart, but I rarely use it because I've had problems transferring data from it to my laptop. I've lost formatting, and it tends to make the spellcheck in my Word program not work, so reasons beyond my comprehension.

I write a draft and print it out chapter by chapter for the first draft. Then, I sit down, red pen in hand, and go through it. I don't like revising on the computer because I tend to jot notes all over the place as I scour through a manuscript - things to look up, things to remember for later on, things to double check and so on. When I'm finished, the draft is a mess of red ink and a LOT of arrows. Good thing I understand it, no one else would stand a chance.

So right now, I'm rewriting (yet) another manuscript. At first, I thought it was only going to be a tweak here and a tweak there, but it's turning out to be a major rewrite. I mean, almost the entire book is going to end up rewritten when I'm finished.

Now, first off, I have to ask myself why I chose red pen. The lighting in my office is terrible (please, Santa, bring me a decent desktop lamp) and for some weird reason, I bought fine point pens (WTF??). And that adds up to a manuscript that is very difficult to read. My handwriting is that of either a serial killer or a doctor, so it's not exactly a picnic to read to begin with - couple that with teeny, tiny, THIN red ink-written words. My poor, poor eyes.

And I have another 325+ pages to rewrite.

Yeah. I think I'll switch to a blue ink pen for the rest of it.

On the other hand, this particular rewrite had led to an entirely new story - yay! The original was okay, I guess (I'll readily admit, it's not one of my better books), but in rereading it, it's easy to see how far I've come since it was written. The original's not exactly cringe-worthy, but pretty close. But this new story has gone in a whole different direction, so that makes the suffering through the red ink worthwhile.

I still have a LOT to sift through, but I think, when all's said and done, it will be worth all the aggravation and eye strain.

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