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Monday, June 23, 2008

The Rewrite

I've started the rewrite on Personal Demons. I expected to set it aside for at least a week but I have so many things in my writing queue that I want to do and this story will not let go of me, so I decided to read through a hard copy.

As I read each scene I'm looking for all kinds of errors. Yes, I'd like to find the nit-picky problems and fix them before a beta reader has to deal with them, but the focus this time through is on bigger picture problems. I'm checking the pacing through the entire novel. But most of all I'm giving serious thought to each scene and asking myself these questions:

Does this scene move the story forward?
Is this necessary to the novel, or is it there because of writerly interference?
Does it need to be expanded?
Can it be cut?
Can it be combined with another scene?
Does this scene accomplish what it needs to?

These questions apply just as much to an erotic novel as they do any other piece of fiction. It is possible to have gratuitous sex in erotica. So even though it's given that there will be sex in my novel, I don't try to have a scene every certain number of pages, and if there is sex, it better 1) move the plot forward or 2) show something important. There's a huge chunk of this novel that has no sex in it because it has no place in those scenes. But my readers seem to get turned on by the emotional connection in the sex scenes rather than just the fact that the characters are grinding it out, and it takes a heck of a lot of work to get a reader emotionally invested in the characters. So I'd rather have a few sex scenes that have a huge impact rather than a lot of sex scenes that mean nothing. How many times have you read an erotic novel and thought "Geeze, they're fucking again. Why? Who cares. Flip the pages until the story starts again!" I never want my readers to have to do that. And if they skim the sex scene, I want them to have missed something important.

So every scene is getting scrutinized. But it isn't a chore. Rewrites can make or break a book. I hope this round only makes my story better.


Blogger Helen said...

I love rewriting. Once I've got something down on the page, it doesn't matter how bad it is, I know I can fix it. Of course, I spent four years of my life fixing other peoples crappy presentations, so maybe that's why I prefer the rewriting. I've been trained to do it.

Note: YOU do not write crap even the first time around.

11:18 AM

Blogger Jay Lygon said...

You're right. My shopping lists hardly ever need editing ;P

Instead of crap, I'll say rough. Very, very, very rough. I let all my bad writer's habits hang out.

11:55 AM

Blogger Helen said...

As long as that's all you let hang out...

12:51 PM

Anonymous Zathyn Priest said...

I like the rewriting and editing during the second draft. I can be brutal with culling paragraphs and scenes, and I absolutely agree with the points you made about it.

As far as sex scenes in erotica, I agree with you there too. Less is more sometimes, I know when I read a book I prefer the characters to get out of the bedroom occassionally!

Best Wishes,

5:08 AM


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