Monday, March 29, 2010

Edit or rewrite?

I'm starting to think there is validity to the concept of wholesale rewriting.

My feeling up until recently was that anything could be salvaged with enough finessing. But today I reached a chapter that I knew needed massive changes. I knew the ending it needed to come to, so I deleted almost the entire thing and re-wrote it from scratch. It felt liberating -- challenging even -- to start with a fresh page and come up with something better.

In a way it feels like the first draft was really just a way to figure out how the thing should end. Once you know your ending, you can go back and figure out a more dramatic way to get there.