It’s not easy, rewriting from scratch.
I keep butting up against my memories of the previous version. I have to keep reminding myself that this is a completely new version and I can do whatever I want. I’m not just retelling the story, I’m crafting it anew.
But there are some things I definitely want to achieve in this version, and that’s where my memories of the old version come in handy. They give me something to measure the new version up against.
I want the plot to be more interesting.
There is a little twist in my story that I came up with when I was quite far along in the original draft, when I was past the point of laying much in the way of groundwork for it. One of the things I’m enjoying the most is figuring out all the little things I can drop in to prepare the reader for the twist. The story just seems more coherent now I’m writing it from the start with the twist in mind.
I want the plot to be simpler.
Now, this seems like it contradicts the previous point, but trust me, it doesn’t. I’m hoping that the plot will be more interesting because it’s more emotionally engaging and the characters are more developed – I do not want to overcomplicate it.
When I wrote the first version, I’d barely finished anything – a couple of short stories and a play. I was scared of not having enough plot to make it through a whole book. So I threw in every complication I could possibly think of at the start, and then struggled to see them all through to the end. I cut out a lot of these details when I made my ill-fated edit, and I’ve dropped a few more in this new version.
I want more engaging characters.
My characters have got to be interesting people who make interesting choices. I want to understand them deeply so that I can make them feel alive to the reader, and compelling.
I want a strong narrative voice.
See my thoughts from day one about good first person narrators.
I want more wit but without sacrificing emotional resonance.
My goal is to write a book that is by turns equal parts funny and serious. Is this possible? Am I good enough to pull it off? WHO KNOWS. Well, my writing group will, when I send it to them!
I want more moral ambiguity.
My characters were a bit too firmly good or bad the first time around. All people, but especially teenagers, are morally ambiguous creatures and I want to explore this. Maybe it’s my partner’s influence – his Hobson and Choi books are full of shades of moral grey.
1,965 words. I did it! I finally beat the average, thanks to a writing session directly after I finished work, and another after dinner at home. I’ve cut my at-this-rate finish date down by an entire week! I’m thrilled, but it’s unlikely I’ll do the same tomorrow, I expect that date’ll go shooting up over the next two days, but there’s always Friday!