Sunday, 20 February 2011


I'm close to completing the re-draft of chapter seven, the end of which sees the characters embark on the next stage of their journey.  There is a shift in location and tone.  So the decision I am faced with is whether to call a halt at this point and review the first seven chapters, or to press on with the story.

I don't particularly like the idea of going back, but it could be beneficial to check at this stage for any holes in the plot, characters doing things that don't fit, relationships that don't click, and so on.  No major re-write, more a re-familiarisation with the text.  And maybe i could write an updated synopsis for the story so far.

But it could be detrimental to the writing process.  It could act as a barrier against any natural evolution of the story.  If the first seven chapters become something fixed - in the can, so to speak - then what room is there for development in the latter stages of the story?

Writing is re-writing.  That statement is so true.  I can already see the improvements in plot, character and narrative compared to the now rather shaky first draft. But how far do you go?  Until it's ready?  And how do you know when it's ready?  Will it ever be ready in the eyes of the author?  It is a craft, like Carpentry, though wheras the Carpenter has a design to work to; a chair, a table, objects that have fixed form and recognisable geometery, the author is working from an idea.  He or she must shape it as they see fit; writing and re-writing, adding and taking away until it feels right.  Knowing when to stop is a skill in itself.

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