Saturday, April 11, 2009

Rewriting: Ain't it a Blast?

Ah, rewriting. Ain't it a blast? I'm not talking revisions here, I'm talking rewriting as in writing something from nothing. Kind of like a first draft only different. Since I've already written the whole brilliant masterpiece, it's not like I don't know the outcome. HOWEVER, I'm writing AS IF I don't know what's coming.

(If you're confused, you might compare this to when you and your honey dress up in a nurse and doctor's outfit. You've got a fairly good idea where you're headed, so to speak, but you may not be exactly sure how you'll get there. And that's more than half the fun. Do you get it now? Yeah, I thought you might.)

Anyhoo, I've had four requests for partials and was advised there's "too much back story." (Can you believe that? Sheesh. Some people's kids.) Since I've already chopped a good deal of my first three chapters out, I figured I'd try a new and, dare I say, revolutionary approach. I wiped the first three chapters off the map and started anew. Blank page, new Microsoft Word document, fresh as daisies clean. I wasn't entirely sure where the first three chaps would take me, but I was willing to throw my writing boots back on and walk down that illusive road to find out.

Remember my last post on Michelangelo and how he carved David? This is a quiz class, please pay attention. You'll be graded accordingly. Time's up! Hand in your papers. Hmmm. Wow, I'm impressed! You all get "A's." Except for you, Jason. You clearly weren't paying attention. I'm so disappointed. You're going to have to stay after class today. I've got a certain doctor's outfit I was hoping you'd try on... Where was I? Oh, yes. To recap: Mikey said carving David was easy because he simply got rid of everything that wasn't David. That Michelangelo - what a kidder! Following in Mikey's illustrious footsteps, I set out to dismiss everything that isn't Sparks Fly Sometimes, and I'm praying to Buddha, Allah, and Jesus, et al that I got it right this time.

This insane-yet-earth-shattering rewriting idea was spurred on by words of wisdom from a formidable and very hip agent, as well as a kickass-soon-to-be-agented writer hailing from the great state of Ohio. (As in, "four dead in...") Of course, I didn't rewrite entirely from scratch, since I knew how the story ends, middles, and sort of begins. However, I was writing from a different vantage point, eliminating pesky minor characters, and developing the divas and rock stars with the style, flair and elan they deserve.

The good news is, I did it! I'm done! And...I love it! Eureka! The view from the top of Mt. Everest is pretty damn gorgeous, although it's as cold as Sarah Palin in an ice storm in the middle of the Russian tundra (which , by the way, she can see from her house.)

I'll be sending these new and improved sample pages out to yet another (crazy? desperate? BRILLIANT!) agent who has requested my partial submission. We'll soon see if all my hard work pays off.

Wish me luck! ;-)

47 comments:

Paul Michael Murphy said...

Best of luck. I just did a similar thing to my own story. Didn't rewrite the whole thing, but I'm beginning to think I might as well have.

Chuck Schubert said...

Good luck, honey!! BTW, I am a doctor, so where's the nurse??
-Your Editor

DebraLSchubert said...

Paul, This writing stuff's not as easy as advertised. Good luck to you as well, my friend.

DebraLSchubert said...

Chuck, Hmmm. Guess I'll have to dig around in the attic for that nurse's outfit...

valbrussell said...

Debbie Honey, I'm exceptionally happy for you! HUGS! Rewrites hurt, deeply. ;) However, like exercise, they get rid of the fat and the cankles. :O

Beth said...

Great job! Can't wait to hear the good news, and it WILL be good, I'm sure of it!

Beth

Lady Glamis said...

Good luck! Yes, I've done this with a novel before. It was painful, but enlightening. Unfortunately, it still needs a lot cut out of it, but it's on the back burner as I snip away at my current novel. It never ends. *shakes head*

I need to get a nurse's outfit. How fun! :D

DebraLSchubert said...

Val, Thanks for your constant support and flow of kind words. Once I made up my mind to "start again" I actually enjoyed it very much. We'll see how it goes...

DebraLSchubert said...

Beth, From your mouth to Buddah, Allah, Jesus, etc. ears!

DebraLSchubert said...

Michelle, I doubt you'd get too much of an argument from your hubby on the nurse's outfit. I'd bet he has got an area that's "hurting" and needs attention... When my husband first graduated med school and wanted to do something naughty he'd say, "trust me, I'm a doctor!" Yeah, right. But first and foremost, I'd tell him, you're a guy!!

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

It is a painful process! But, so exhilarating once it's done! It's like getting a wax job. Pulling off the wax hurts but the end result is great!

Congratulations!

Joanne said...

Good luck on your submission! Seems like a good choice to consider the agent feedback and work it into the story. It's a constant learning process, isn't it? Fingers crossed ...

DebraLSchubert said...

CCD, Great analogy! I just hope the result is a bit more permanent!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Joanne, It is indeed a constant learning process. That's the ultimate joy of it, though, isn't it? Seeing your craft get better and better - what a gift!

Rebecca Anne said...

Throwing a whole handful of luck and timing and good vibes from the rewrite juju your direction!
I'm glad the strike it blank and start off paid off for you. I've certainly had to do that with some of the things I've written and although I hate....or maybe...I'm so sad about executing words that thought they would get play time, but didn't, anyway...I'm drifting.

I understand, and I'm glad you are pleased with the results. I've got all my fingers and toes crossed for you.
Rebecca

Kasie West said...

Wow, awesome. Been there with the rewriting and it's not my favorite thing. But it is always better for all the hard work. Good luck!

Sandra Leigh said...

What a brave thing you did, Debra. I hope your brilliant agent loves the new and improved Sparks Fly Sometimes.

Amy Sue Nathan said...

I did that too - cut out all the backstory. Um, yeah, more than 50 pages. And now the whole thing makes sense, except of course, I'm not done like you! :(

Am shooting for May, but as you know, I'm a slooooowpoke.

Mollie said...

OK. Totally skeeved about the nurse thing. Let's try to forget I ever was one...

DebraLSchubert said...

Rebecca,You're basically talking about "killing the darlings." I really am OK with it. (Maybe that's why I'm currently writing a murder mystery - HAH!) I love all my "babies" and keep them in another Word document. HOWEVER, I'm more committed to getting it right and doing what's best for the story than I am to being impressed with all of my hard-earned prose. (hee-hee) Thanks for all the finger and toe crossing. Promise you won't hurt yourself.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Kasie, Thanks! And, how are things going on your end...???

DebraLSchubert said...

Sandra, Hopefully I'll have a brilliant agent one day soon! Brave? I don't think so. I'm just lucky to have talented folks in my corner whose advice I'm smart enough to follow. I'll keep you posted...

DebraLSchubert said...

Amy, You're smart to take your time. I'm impatient, which isn't the best way to be. I have no doubt your book will be perfect when its done. I can't wait to take another look at it!

DebraLSchubert said...

Mollie, Yeah, but isn't she sizzling hot????

Litgirl01 said...

LOL! You are too funny.

Wowza, four partial requests? You must be doing something right! Spiff that puppy up and send it back out there.

BTW...I paid attention to the Michaelangelo thing (he's perfection). How many extra points do I get?

DebraLSchubert said...

Traci, Do you have a nurse's costume lying around somewhere? Kidding. You get the satisfaction of knowing you're one of the smartest bloggers I know. (And, you've got great taste in who you follow!!) Hugs, D

Kelly said...

You are brave to wipe out the chapters, but it could be the just right thing to do. Good luck! Congrats on the requests, too!
(I'm surprised any males even took their eyes away from the nurse to read your post...even I had to check and see if she has panties on! That skirt is short! ;)

Lynnette Labelle said...

I totally get it. That's what I'm doing, too. Only I've scratched a about 3/4 of the original novel. Great! I have my work cut out for me.

Good luck on the submissions.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

Anita said...

I think this is a fabulous idea...you've definitely got a great story there, you just need to flesh it out. You can do this!!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kelly,You're right - that picture is quite an eyeful! Thanks for your congrats on the partials - hopefully, one of these days there will be a lot more to be happy about!

DebraLSchubert said...

Lynette, 3/4 of your original novel? Holy Spandex, Batman! Good for you. I hope the rewrite turns out just as you want it.;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Anita, I can't tell you how good I feel about my first few chapters now. This is exactly what the doctor ordered! I just wish I'd figured it out sooner...

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm so glad I'm not the only one going through this. Too bad we don't realize this BEFORE we get our first requests. What a waste of good requests. :0) But at least you've had agents point out problems in your story/writing. Can you imagine how hard it is for writers who only get form rejections. Now that's frustrating!

Good luck with your latest submissions.

nsiyer said...

All the very best. I have promised mysel that I will publish a book with my thoughts.

DebraLSchubert said...

Stina, How true is that! I'm kicking myself that I've "wasted" the partials I sent out previously. But, it's all a learning process. Hopefully, I'm "on track" now. How have things gone for you with your submissions?

And, btw, thanks for stopping by!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Nsiyer, Thanks for your good wishes. Do you mean you want to write a memoir? I bet that would be fascinating!

Julie said...

Good luck!!!!!!

DebraLSchubert said...

Julie, Thanks, sweetie! I'll keep you posted.....!!!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

My first full was rejected. Too romantic for the agent's taste. But she invited me to query her for the next book. Not bad considering she usually rejects with form letters. One agent who read my full gave me incredible feedback, which led to the big rewrites (not all were based on her comments, though). Unfortunately too late for one with a partial (rejection). So now I have one partial out (but it has been tweaked more since then), and a full (the agent liked my sample chapter, at least). Fortunately the one with the partial is my dream agent. Unfortunately she hasn't had time to evaluate potential new clients for quite some time, and it sounds like it could be a while longer before I hear back from her. Oh well.

DebraLSchubert said...

Stina, It sounds like you're getting positive responses. I'm sure it's only a matter of time. I'll keep my fingers crossed for your "dream agent" to come through!

Broke But Still Drinking said...

I'm waiting for you to get an agent and then I'm riding your coattails to get my book published.

DebraLSchubert said...

BBSD, Don't hold your breath, my friend, although I'm doing the best I can. If, I mean WHEN that happens, I'll let you know what my favorite kind of dark chocolate is. You can send me a case and then we'll talk.;-)

Pen Pen said...

I hope the re-write doesn't trip u up too much. Keep going tho! It's worth the hard work!

DebraLSchubert said...

PenPen, I've actually finished the rewrite. I FINALLY love my first three chapters! Now, I'm going through the ms (again!) making small changes, while working on my new WIP. I sent out a partial submission today with the new pages. We'll see how it goes!!

Kathryn Magendie said...

GOOD LUCK!!!!! :-) YEEHAW!

DebraLSchubert said...

Kat, Hey, there - where's my book?;-)

Vegas Linda Lou said...

Good for you! Weaving in back story is so damn hard. It's such a relief when you finally feel you've nailed it. Best of luck moving forward!

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