Writing is fun. Rewriting is not.
Editing, which is fine-tuning what you have, can be OK. But that’s not where I am not yet. Rewriting is changing things within your story that you think may have not been working too well. And it really, really stinks. And that’s exactly where I am now.
November 2011 I decided to write a short story. It turned into a novella. Then I turned it into a novel, the first in a series, to combine it with two other story ideas I had. I was pretty happy with my first draft of the novel version and moved on to the next story, book two of the series. I finished it and realized even though it wasn’t perfect, it was a lot better than the previous. Then I was attempting to write the third, but I felt really stuck. I didn’t know how to move forward at all. The second story laid some good groundwork, but I felt there needed to be more from the first book. And I knew there were some other things there that needed to be changed. So I decided to go back and rewrite the first book. That’s what I’ve been attempting to do for the past few weeks now.
And already I feel so completely stuck.
I have an idea of where I want to go with it, but I don’t have all the plot points detailed out like I did when I decided to expand the novella to a novel (I think it helped that I was reading Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell at the time, which by the way, I found to be extremely helpful and would recommend). So I suppose I ought to sit down and do that first, and then go from there. I have just spent the past two weeks or so feeling sort of scatterbrained, and everyday I do at least one thing that feels like a total fail. For example, several days ago the first thing I did when I got out of bed was walk right into a door. And then just a day or two later, I hit a curb on a curve really hard and it killed my tire. Needless to say, I have not been in tip-top shape lately. I also feel like I am laboring over my current read, Unbroken. It is a fantastic story, but it is a really hard read that gives you a very detailed look at life inside Japanese POW camps during WWII. It’s wearing and I’m ready for it to be over, as if I was living it. But the good news is, I have finally reached the point where the war is over, so hopefully it only gets better from there.
I may also go back to the third story, plot it out, then work on writing it before I go back to the first book. But sigh… I don’t know. Mostly, I think I may need a break from this particular universe. I feel bad ever abandoning a story I have been working on so much, and I feel like I need to see it through to the end, otherwise it will end up like the 50 million (OK, closer to just 50) partial stories I have written. But I have a goal I really want to see through, so I think I will come back before too long. I just need to be excited about it again.
Any other writers suffer from the rut of rewriting? What do you do? Any advice, even from non-writers, is appreciated!