Up until last month I had never written (or finished writing) a book. And as of now, I’ve still never done (or finished) a rewrite. But I'm working on it. The interesting thing about reading your own writing (and I think I've mentioned this before) is that you don't always remember what you've written. After reading the entire first draft again, I knew immediately there were two major things I wanted to change. Not so much plotwise, as the way these things were presented. One of these things came off as just me being lazy. The other is the beginning of the book. I won't cut it out. I need to start the book, but I started writing from the beginning, and now the writing at the beginning is inconsistent with the writing throughout the rest of the book. Of course, these are the same three chapters I sent in as an example of how my book was to the Malice Domestic contest. Sheesh. I would have picked someone else, too.
My biggest problem was HOW to change these things without changing great portions of the book. The answer didn't come quickly. I thought about it for a while without ever putting anything to paper. My thinking became more and more general until I was left with the bare bones of the story, as well as the themes and the setting, and then it came to me. At the heart and soul of this novel is film. If in doubt, always go back to film. Once this revelation washed through me, I was able to put it to practical use.
The tough thing was, it needed research. So, I am writing to you in midst of watching many, many films to find what I need to add to the novel. It's not the worst research in the world. And my friends here at George Eastman House are a great resource, not only for ideas, but for DVDs as well. I know what I want, I just have to search for it.
How long will it take? Hopefully not too long. I have these major changes to make, but then I also have several smaller changes to make. I'm going to Malice Domestic (yikes!) a week from today. I hope to meet many other authors, and maybe chat up an agent or publisher or two. I'd like to tell them I'm done with the novel and have it ready to send to them. Either way, I'm very confindent that this is the way to go, and I'm excited to be moving toward the end.