The Self-Imposed Page 1 Rewrite

The internet is a minefield. I’m censoring what I want to say about that.

You know what else is a minefield? My first draft. Every time I make progress I see another UTTERLY IMPORTANT plot piece I need to go back and change! I get new ideas and I want them in! My muse—yes, I have a muse; it’s a boy and he lives with me—says something brilliant about the story or the characters, I get a new idea, and start itching to make the fix. This story is many-layered, with multiple threads and people involved. Tug or shift one and the whole thing caves in.

I know I’ll be happy I did this later, but some days I can’t see the progress. My word count keeps contracting and expanding and then contracting again as I cut words, spew out new ones, and forge ahead.

What happened? you may ask. I thought you were writing a first draft! You’re not supposed to go back to the beginning.

Oh well. I do a lot of things I’m not supposed to do.

I am writing a “first” draft. But I’m a revise-as-I-go writer, and I absolutely could not bear to have the wrong plot elements in place behind me as I wrote ahead to end. (Also I find that confusing.) I had to go back, people. I had to go back to page 1, even though I know I’ll still need to revise more later.

Going back to the beginning—yet again—was a few weeks ago by now, I guess, so I am no longer on page 1, thank you very much, but I’m still not done.

This novel is… nothing like I’ve ever written before. And yet also at the same time this novel is very, very me.

Hey—changing subject to divert you from the fact that my novel is not done yet—want to read a really amazing book… one I didn’t write?

You’re in luck. Check out my interview with author Amy Reed about her stunning new novel CLEAN. If you comment on the post, you’re entered to win a signed copy! Thank you so much to everyone who’s shared comments so far… the stories are so touching. You have till Monday to leave a comment and I hope you will!


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