Have you ever written a story you loved to pieces? Worked for hours to craft it perfectly, edited it to the best of your ability, and even shared a few parts with friends? Then you set it aside for a few months (maybe pick it up once and do a little editing), and after a while…opened the document.
Only to hate every word. Okay, maybe not the words but the way you put them together. Choppy, choppy, choppy. And what do these characters look like? And did you finish your English grammar education? And who wrote this anyway?
That’s what happened when I picked up my medieval story “The Twin Arrows” after letting it sit for a very long time. (It’s my “in-between” project while I let “Kiera” simmer on the backburner.) I had edited it enough to post it on a blog, so I thought the job would be easy. A few tweaks here and there, a better way to have them escape from the castle (#nodumbguards), etc…
Well, I didn’t like it. Very much at all really.
I had just launched right in without even setting the tone! One of the characters talked like someone in a stiff, cheesy puppet show. And the chapter titles were right out of something I wouldn’t want to read. Stiff, choppy, argh, bleck.
I rewrote the first chapter last week. I tried rewriting the second one today, although I think it needs a little more work because I entirely forgot to describe a character. (And some readers will kill me for that.) I added a real beginning, fixed the stilted character, and toned down the vernacular on a certain character…
All to the best of my ability. Which means it’s still not perfect.
You mean I’ll have to edit again? I’m on the fourth draft (or is it the fifth?). When do I stop? One hundred drafts?
Fortunately, it will get better as I rewrite it over the course of the next few months. (Lots of prayer, tears, chocolate…) Beta-readers (a.k.a those fire-breathing, scary people that read your book and aren’t as scary as you thought), my editor (a.k.a. someone who actually breathes fire and carries a deadly red pen), and advanced readers (a.k.a my band of brothers) will get it after that. And if there’s anything left, it will be better enough. 😉
So I’ll keep calm and rewrite on. 😉