Excitement today. Like falling in love or catching sight of prey? A physical high this morning as I worked on the rewrite of chapter one. Yes, this week I began the rewrite of Perceval’s Shadow, the second novel in the Perceval series.
The trick to doing a rewrite of a first draft is not to think about the entire story but to break it into sections. Break those sections into chapters. Break the chapters into sections. Otherwise, a project like this could easily overwhelm — each chapter has its needs, each character has his or her needs. Fortunately, I have a solid, strong structure so I don’t have to worry about that.
It also helps to have goals for each rewrite. For this rewrite, the first, my goals are:
- Plug any story holes.
- Develop characters more. The foundations are there for each primary and secondary character but I’ve discovered from the assessment read-through that I need to develop Evan’s relationship with his “cousin” as well as develop each new character. I’ll actually add a chapter because of this work.
- Enrich description and language.
I also need to do some more research on Buenos Aires which I can do on the internet.
My excitement this morning? I feel that I am sinking into Evan and his world again, my imagination playing with the issues that have arisen and giving me ideas to resolve them. Good ideas. While I dressed this morning, I thought of two scenes for the chapter I need to add, and realized too that Evan needed to have a cell phone in Buenos Aires. Why did I think before that it made sense for him not to have a cell phone? Weird. And that new chapter? Five days ago I hadn’t a clue where to start or what needed to be in it.
Chapter One: I changed the beginning. I wanted more action right away, instead of description, and to set the location. In the most recent draft of the first novel, I developed Evan’s voice more, and I need to get back into it, so I’m using this chapter for that and taking my time. He’s with a musician — family for him — for the first half of the chapter, relaxed, having fun, feeling safe.
A question about how much review to have — when I read other series and sequels, this kind of information tends to make me impatient for the writer to get on with the present story. However, I recognize that it’s actually important for the reader to be reminded of the world in which Evan lives. It’s not the past and it’s not today. I’ll also need to remind readers of Perceval’s secret, i.e. what happened at the end of the first novel that will haunt Evan throughout this story.
I’m weaving the information about the current state of the world into his conversation with the musician. They’re running on the streets of Buenos Aires after a concert, unwinding, friends talking about what’s next for each of them. Evan will travel to Toronto to conduct there but he still lives in Vienna. I’m still working on the crucial parts of his secret that need inclusion.
Revision work is hard work. It’s 90% of creative writing. But…it’s exciting to me and an absolute blast!