Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Rough Draft Isn't as Sucky as I Thought It Was

I started editing PHOTO FINISH last night, and I was surprised to find that some of what I'd written was actually pretty good.

It's been more than a year since I looked at this novel, and last I knew, I hated it. Loathed it. Despised it with the bloody rage of a thousand swirling daggers. When I typed THE END, I thought, "Good freakin' riddance," and shut the laptop on it, sure that I would never see or think of it again.

And then a few months later, I thought, "I wonder if this would work." And a little while later, "Oh yeah. I've got to add that." And then, "That's definitely a good idea."

But I let all those ideas percolate for months because a) I was in the middle of another novel and b) I wasn't prepared to face the total garbage I knew I would find when I once again opened the file. But a couple nights ago I typed THE END at the bottom of FIRST HAUNT, and I knew that I was out of excuses for avoiding PHOTO FINISH. (Plus, I have to have something to pitch to Weronika Janczuk at LDStorymakers,* and I figured it'd be nice if I had something I'd actually edited at least once.)

So I braced myself, opened it up, and thought, "Whoa. Some of this is actually really good. Like, printed material good." Not to worry. I'm not so delusionally in love with my own prose that I thought it was fine as-is. I eviscerated most of it, rewrote whole swaths of story, added scenes, removed scenes, reassigned and re-wrote dialog, and changed characterization (and all that was just in the first 3,000 words). However, I sensed potential and the possibility that the story might not be the suckfest I remembered, and that was nice.

*I knew that signing up for a pitch session when I had one and one-half finished rough-drafts to my name was colossally stupid, but I did it because I knew it would force me to get my act together. It appears to be working.

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