Rewriting – Parts Four And Five

Since the last time I posted I’ve been hard at work on rewriting my book, although I have also taken time off to play the latest Grand Theft Auto game and watch some television. As you can probably tell from the title, I’ve been rewriting parts four and five of the seven distinct parts I split the book into. I’m actually halfway through part six as I write this and taking a break to say hi to you all.

There’s a marked difference between the chapters I was rewriting for previous parts and the ones in these two. This is where my ideas for the story began and the imagery I wanted to show to people. Before that it was a case of getting the major players in place and, as I didn’t really know what I was doing, the whole thing was kind of fudged together with minimal skill. There were some attempts at foreshadowing, some attempts at humour, but they were mostly there to pad the word count it seems.

In these parts I had not only found my style a bit more and learned some techniques, but I had a better understanding of the characters and already had a clear picture of the events I wanted to show. All of that showed in the writing of the chapters and everything was much more confidently written, flowing beautifully from one vision to the next. It was an earlier version of the same style I’ve been using to rewrite the earlier chapters, and rewriting was mostly a breeze for these parts. There have been some complete rewrites, but the majority of what I’ve been doing has been to remove leftover mentions of subplots that have been taken out of the book completely, rephrasing things so that they make sense both in and out of my own head, and neater transitions between characters viewpoints.

In the original manuscript the chapters are filled with scenes that flash between the first-person narrative of the main character and the third-person perspective of the other players. It was a nifty device for conveying urgency to action scenes but ultimately made the book a laborious read filled with scenes that were only there to fill the space while other characters got to the next place they needed to be. In this rewrite I kept the alternating perspectives but assigned them to whole chapters, so now these people have to be interesting for longer to keep the attention of the reader and can’t just have filler scenes. Third person chapters do still alternate between one or two people, but those people are generally in the same place which makes it neater to do.

This change helped me to flesh out some of the sideline characters a bit more but did have an adverse effect on the main action scene contained within these parts. This was something I wrote with quick jump cuts between all the characters in play and it was shockingly effective to read through again. In the end I decided to lengthen an effect that had been evident in a previous chapter, keeping the scene in third person but allowing for the first person parts to have a voice. The scene isn’t quite as shocking as it originally was but it still comes across as well as I’d hoped it would.

At the end of these parts I’d gone over the total length of the original manuscript. I’d also kept everything I cut from the book (not counting words or sentences changed here and there or paragraphs entirely rewritten, just the things I actually cut out) and did a word count on that. So far over thirty-two thousand words were junked from the original. That’s several subplots and characters that aren’t needed, as well as a massive subplot that will be reintroduced in book two and carry over into book three, but that I had to set in motion in a different way for it to make sense in this book.

For those wondering, the original manuscript ended up at 91,534 words, meaning I cut over a third of that book out as either junk that didn’t need to be there in the first place or something that would be better served later on in the series. In fleshing out the characters I wanted to take centre stage and making sure that it’s a fun read those words easily got added back in over time, and then quite a few more (I crashed through a hundred thousand words a few chapters ago in part six). It’s quite odd to know that I’m making this a tighter read and yet also making it a longer book. It feels like I should be making it smaller to make it tighter and yet this is working so far.

I’m quite a way into part six of this rewrite and then I’ve the relatively miniscule part seven to do from scratch. As well as a few lines to wrap up the book, part seven was mainly about wrapping up the massive subplot that was removed so there isn’t much to work with there. I have a few ideas though and I think they’ll lead nicely into book two once I’m finished. After that there are a few chapters I’ve marked to check over again as they seem a little awkward compared to the easier style I’ve developed.

And then I get to reward myself with a bucket of chicken, before moving onto book two and start the whole process over again. I’ll get back to you, probably with bucket in hand, before I start on the next book though.

Chat to you then, guys.


6 thoughts on “Rewriting – Parts Four And Five

  1. Hm I was wondering were you are. Not that I was on OC too often lately, everyday life has its tolls sometimes 😦
    As for Breaking Bad, it is over in Canada, do you want to know how it ended? :devil:

  2. Had my bucket yesterday. The second draft is complete. It’s very streamlined from the original, but this has allowed me to go into more detail on what is included and spend some time foreshadowing what is to come. The book ended up larger than I’d thought, coming in at just under a hundred and fifteen thousand words so far.

    I’m going through for draft three now and finding some chapters don’t need touching. There are a couple that still need total rewrites but mostly it’s just word edits here and there left to make.

    At the end of this stage the book will be ready to print, although I’m still holding back to see how the others turn out first. I’ve a special treat for myself then though and I’m looking forwards to it.

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