Throw It All Away and Start Over (On Writing and Editing)


Like so many good and necessary things, like exercise and healthy eating, sometimes we can fight the rewrite, self sabotage the evolution. Don’t fight the rewrite. Embrace the rewrite. Embrace the chopping.  You got more words. Don’t be afraid to let go. It feels so good to let go of bad words.

To me, writing is a very mystical experience. I just sort of jam on ideas, characters, and worlds until things start to take shape. This captures the emotional quality of production very well, but could tend to ignore the technical aspects. The technical aspects are what allow the emotional and narrative elements to work. If the sentences don’t flow, the mind won’t go. Once you have that general shape,  you have to refine it until it makes sense.

The key to the rewrite is locating the actions and event of your writing, the scene. What is the scene? Where are we and what are we doing? One tip is to locate info and backstory in characters thoughts and reactions. And as always, let the events speak for themselves.

In my current story I have chosen a well worn, hopefully not cliched ahem, formula of the gauntlet, a la The Running Man, Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, The Long Walk. Now one might ask why retell the gauntlet, challenge story? I would say I want to crack the nut. I want to show how we can stop playing the game. I want to win the gauntlet in a way that makes sense to me. Further, look around you are we not all put through the proverbial meat grinder everyone once in a while? Isn’t the art project itself a meat grinder? It’s a rich tool for self reflection, and more importantly a good frame for a story.


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