An LJ reader emailed me a writing question a few days ago, and gave me the all-clear to use its answer as a blog post, so I’m going to give it a shot. The question (and its surrounding commentary, which I thought was relevant) follows:
I know that some authors find rewriting easier (in some ways) than the initial creative process. Me, I can whip something out of nothing without breaking a sweat. But whenever I try to approach the highly necessary rewrite of my recent novella, I get almost immediately overwhelmed by the minutiae of things that need tending to. I am pulled this way and that, trying to keep track of the myriad of details that need to hover simultaneously in my forebrain–and I end up just fiddling with the niggling little grammar nits, polishing word choice, questioning whether that adverb is really necessary, and reassuring myself that all the independent clauses are safely sequestered within their parenthetical commas.
Consequently, the real work–that is, deleting scenes and rewriting the whole cloth of large sections–goes undone because of these distractions of questionable value. Sometimes, I think I might be better off deleting the damned thing and starting over from scratch.
So, my question: In your subsequent drafts, how do you keep the story from getting in the way of your rewriting?
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(x-posted from the essential kit)