Monday, July 16, 2007


The End.

It always feels good to write those last two words—for about five minutes. After that, I face the daunting task of (gasp) rewrites.

So what is the purpose of rewrites? Wasn’t the story good enough the first time I wrote it? The simple fact is, when I sit down to write, I’m not thinking about strong character development, story movement, or plot holes. I’m thinking about spinning a yarn. I imbue it with a few colorful strands of course, funny scenes and such. But overall, my focus is on getting from page one to page two hundred and one, with several pages in between.

Now, as my story winds down and I am zeroing in on the last fifteen thousand words, I’ve started pondering all the loose threads. Did I really tie up all the frazzled ends? Has my character been fully developed, with not only a past and present, but the possibility of a bright future? Were all the clues placed properly, and is the outcome satisfying to the reader? Those are the questions I seek to answer as I begin the task of rewriting.

See, it’s not so much about changing the story, as it is fleshing it out. By now, I’ve gotten to know my characters pretty well. Actually, that’s an understatement. These characters have lived with me for months. They have become living, breathing, people inside my head, and with my new understanding for their fears, motives, and desires, I am better able to go back and weave in those little nuances that make them feel real. And let’s not forget all those little misspelled, misplaced, or outright omitted words that need to be filled in. Spit and polish, polish and spit. That’s what a really great critique group is for. I’ve got two, and I’m so glad to have them.

3 comments :

Jess said...

Great post, Lisa. Thanks for reminding me what I'm trying to do. :-) Rewrites/fleshing out can be a little bit overwhelming when I'm trying to add 15,000 words too. But isn't it exciting? I just LOVE writing.

Sandra Robbins said...

I suppose what you're telling us, then, is that "The End" simply signals another beginning. How true.

Sandra

Ane Mulligan said...

And that's where I am exactly. I'm closing in on the last maybe 10,000 words. But I'll probably layer in another 10-15,000 on top. I have the skeleton, now it needs muscle and tissue. Sigh. Well, you get to crit it, so hang in. :o)

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