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Edd Mcdonald
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Your article came upon me at a time that has recently been particularly hard for me as a writer. I completed a full draft of my novel at some ridiculous word count and started the laborious process of re-drafting. Ten chapters out of twenty eight through the redraft and the motivation just seemed to seep away one day. I ignored my book for two weeks straight, telling myself that I'd start again on Monday. Even as I did that, new ideas flowed into my head, some my own, some stolen from other books I was reading. Those ideas tempted me, asked to be fleshed out, wanted to be written down. Everything was a distraction to me, from the election to dating to video games. I wondered what had happened to the guy who had taken a week's holiday from work in order to write eight hours a day and get the book finished. Re-writing is not a process I particularly enjoy. When I write, I tend to change things - character genders, material cultures, place names - as I go, without going back and amending. I write everything in its roughest format before going back, leaving me with the start of a book that tends not to resemble the end. As such, the re-write by its very nature involves a lot of tweaking. In my current project, the name of every single character in the book has changed since I started it, making the redraft sometimes feel more like I'm doing admin than being creative. But whilst dotting the I's and crossing the T's, looking up exactly how far a ship could travel in three days and trying to amend the continuity errors my underestimation has caused, and renaming of every dog along the way may be a fairly tedious task, redrafting is the polish that turns the story from a crude cut block to a polished slab of marble. It has to be done. If you're finding that the chapters themselves aren't drawing you to read on in your own work then perhaps they need to be cut, or perhaps as you say, it's time to let your ego have some time off. Some of my favourite books I've read up to seven times - knowing what's coming next isn't going to put me off reading them again. If anything, your own story should be as intriguing to you as it is your potential readers. Enjoyed your article, hope that the writing keeps going well. Ed
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May 9, 2010