So I have this WIP that I love. No, no: LOVE! I’m so head over heels in love with this WIP that when I realized it was sort of built on a shaky world with poorly motivated bad guys, I had to fix it. But the only fix was to scrap the draft I was working on, and start over from scratch.
At first, I thought this was a brilliant idea because I am completely IN LOVE. Now that I’m 10K into it, I realize that I R dumb.
I thought this would be easy for a few reasons. First, of course, is my utter and complete love of the project. This one qualifies as a baby. I’m going to cry when I get the inevitable rejection letters for this project (I know, I’m really setting myself up for some major pain down the road here). So I thought that because I love it sooooo much, it would be easier to rewrite it, reimagining the awesome from last fall.
I also thought this rewrite would be a good idea because my voice has changed. You have to realize that the first novel I wrote thinking it might have a chance at publication I wrote in third person boring because everyone from my childhood had written that way. I guess I must have thought it the polite and proper way to write (Wow, when did I become a Victorian era lady from London?). Suffice it to say that me and third person (boring, entertaining, or otherwise) do not mix. I wrote three books in third person. Then I said, “oh to hell with publishing” and I wrote a book just for me. And my voice changed. My voice changed throughout that whole project, right into the next (abandoned) project. By the time I started in on my SuperHero WIP I knew it was changing faster than the Climate, and all I would be able to do was mitigate Sea Level rise.
And then, it settled. It settled on overwritten, but I feel like it finally worked. I was at the 2/3 mark of the Super Hero of Awesome project (not it’s actual name). But to make the last third of the novel work, I needed that world building. If I had just finished, it would need so much RetCon*, it could sell tickets and people would come dressed up in their Steam Punk costumes.
Enter the rewrite.
I thought it would just go awesome because I had so much more I wanted to put in. I’ve never rewritten a project from top to bottom (maybe I should have started on a smaller project), so perhaps my naivety can be forgiven. But let me just tell you, a rewrite is hard, like pull out your fingernails hard.
For me, the problems are that I remember how I wrote certain parts the first time, and I liked them. It wasn’t like I’d done a particularly bad job the first time, there just wasn’t enough. So the whole time I’m wondering “Is this enough? Is it too much? Am I ruining the parts about it that everyone loves with my messing around like this? Is my voice really different enough to justify starting over from scratch? Oh crap I forgot to put in that pivotal part about that alien race so there can be more tension in the climax. Why do I suck so much? Uh-oh, did the first try suck this bad too? Was it worse? Was I just completely incapable of seeing how crappy my voice is?”
It ain’t pretty, I’ll tell you that.
So just like every other part of writing, rewriting is hard.
*RetCon is a term for retroactive continuity. It’s the “I wave my magic wand and the crap at the beginning of the novel doesn’t count because someone had a brilliant idea right at the end.” It’s not a good tool.