Monday, 26 May 2014

Rewriting or Copying?



Hey all,

I went to the gym and did heavy squats the other day for the first time since before the half-marathon. I don’t know how many of you have ever decided that taking three weeks off from a certain type of workout is a good idea, but it’s not. I still can’t really walk, and have very little hope that I’ll be able to do anything but slither about like a snake tomorrow. I suppose that’s fine though, I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything, and the hardwood is the perfect surface to slide around on.

Also, I do apologize if this post makes little to no sense. I am having trouble putting into words why what I’m working on is tricky for me. Describing the process is easy enough, but explaining the wonky it puts on my brain is not. I do try, though, so read on for some potentially ham-handed explanations of why funky rewrites are hard.

My writing has been strange over the past few days. I said that I had some stuff that I wasn’t sure how to talk about in my last post that I was going to go over today. It mostly (actually completely) pertains to the horror book. I’ve been sort of ignoring Dreamstate II for the past few days… I know, bad, but I wanted to work out this other thing before I start with the real hardcore editing (grammar and whatnot). Anywho, the horror story, as I said last time was being switched over from a first-person story to the third-person. I felt like I was having a lot of trouble making the main character interact with the spooky world in a way that didn’t sound forced or genuinely weird. I found it awkward when he either had to explain (to the reader) why he was thinking or doing something, especially in a crisis. The other option was just to have him do stuff without explaining anything and then things were just terribly confusing—it wasn’t working. The third-person seems much more simple to control, even if the writing is a bit slower going (less train of thought style storytelling).

The real challenge to what I’m doing right now isn’t just rewriting the story but finding a way to balance the original content while adding in new jazz. I’m lengthening a few things, adding in a couple additional sub-ish plots, and messing with the character interactions. What is tempting, in this situation, is just taking the story I’d already written and copying everything that happens in it scene for scene. I fear that if I try to do this, though, I’ll end up with exactly what I had before and I won’t be able to implement any of the new changes. Instead I have to use my first story as a very, very polished guideline for what I’m writing now. It’s more like a writing exercise where I have to tell someone else’s story in my own words, than anything else I can think of. There are bits of the text that are similar to what was there before, and if anyone were to read the stories, they could tell they were the same, but that’s about it. I catch myself falling back occasionally and copying bits that need work now and again. I also sometimes skip over bits of the story that I really liked, but either forget, or have trouble figuring out where exactly to fit them in the new version of the story. Everything is just slightly out of order from how I had it before that it takes a fair amount of brainpower to translate it all over. It’s new for me, which is exciting, but it’s not nearly the speedy process I’d hoped for. Maybe I’ll get better at it the more story that I transcribe over, we’ll see.

-Trevor

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