A common question people ask me when I tell them I’m writing a novel is whether I get frustrated rewriting the same story over and again. The simple answer is: No. I find it fascinating how, by making a few changes, you can alter the quality of the story so dramatically. A few extra sentences can help the reader understand a character better, by including the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) you can transport the reader into the scene rather than just letting them see it. And, as my recent experience shows, reshuffling a few scenes and cutting back the word count can improve the pace dramatically.
A few weeks ago I posted a blog celebrating the fact I had *finished* the novel. After ten rewrites, countless edits and a bit of rejigging I was happy with it. And I was!
I had a proofreading epiphany.
I realised I could make it better, far better, by rewriting the last bit. Again.
So, I sectioned off six chapters and pretty much deleted them. I rewrote the section, combing the action, twists and plot drivers into three chapters and, in doing so, managed to speed up the pace and reduce the word count.
Then, whilst re-reading to make sure I hadn’t missed anything out, I discovered I could delete a later chapter entirely just by adding a few sentences to the previous.
Far from being frustrated I found the experience challenging and hugely rewarding. The book’s in a much better shape and offers a greater reader experience, making it more attractive to the reader.
And the more attractive it is to the reader the more attractive it will be to agents and publishers!