Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The pains of rewriting

There's not one book I can't fix. I'm an editor, in the end and no matter how terrible the book, I can see clearly where it needs improvement; be it on the character or plotting front, I'll have suggestions on how to make it better. Not one book! Except the one I finished writing a year ago and despite going back to it several times in an attempt to fix it, I seem to be unable to do it. It not that I'm totally clueless; I know exactly what I need to do and how I want it to be done, but somehow I can't translate it on to paper. Being the Universe's slowest reader doesn't help much either. The problem is that the book has no chapters, and deliberately so. It's also not a plot driven novel, which means everything relies on the character, to whom I'm trying to give more depth, make him more edgy and have him struggle a bit more. I'm adding a dog, a neighbour, another hobby, something that wasn't planned in the first place and they need to be added very carefully as they interrupt the flow otherwise.The book mainly lets the reader follow the main character's thoughts and life. There's hardly any dialogue in it and it's all written in second person point of view and no, I will not change any of those 'broken rules'. If people complain, sod them. It's not your average book and I never intended it to be. The feedback I had so far was overwhelmingly great. Readers said they felt like something pulled them in, they couldn't stop, had to read on, mesmerised, which, I think, is good, but I'm still not happy, because that special something is missing. To me, that is.
It's not that I have been rewriting and editing like a manic -- far from it. I gave it a proper go and got totally confused and muddled up, then left it alone. I haven't even touched the second half yet. The main character's life is so boring, repetitive and uneventful, it's hard to make heads or tails of it. I also need to make it more commercial, more general. Which means, rewriting huge parts of it, deleting minor characters. At the moment, he works, writes, reads and sleeps. Every day the same. Only the 'online-relationship' he encounters shakes up his world. A bit. It's also a story based on a true event, so I stick to what happened as closely as I can.
I deleted huge chunks that didn't work and they made space for the additions. My problem is that I can't find the ideal places on where to put the additions. Something I never had before. I'd happily add scenes to other books I wrote, but this particular one makes me want to shoot myself. I know it'll be like Marmite; people will either love or hate it, but to get it to the point that I can actually release it, seems a very far cry from what I'm standing at the moment. I'm determined to get there and if I can't fix that book, nobody can. I have an idea on how to make it easier for me, but if it works, remains to be seen. I'd like to publish this masterpiece some time this year, so I better get going, eh?

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