Thursday, November 25, 2010

Revising a Manuscript: Putting Stakes in the Ground

After I worked on the storyboard long enough to feel confident that it was a plan I could work with, I began writing. I'll confess that this hasn't been easy.

I felt with this draft more than any others before, whatever I chose to put on paper was what would stay. If I didn't put stakes in the ground now, then I'd be writing and rewriting this story for the rest of my life. And so, many times since I began rewriting, it has hurt to sit down and put the words into the story. I mean physical pain--I felt tension in my chest, my arms, my stomach--and I wondered why anyone would choose to torture herself that way, when doing so many other things could be pleasurable. But I have kept going.

Because the previous draft of the story veered off (I believe) from my original intent and because it has holes, I've had to do some new writing to bring it back on course and fill in the empty places. This has forced me to slow down the story, flesh out the characters and their problems, and put in the story what only I understood in my head. In doing this, I've come to love those characters all over again. And there, I am discovering, lies the pleasure.

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