Monday, August 22, 2011

Rewriting!

Last spring, I spent the two weeks before the Boreal Conference 2011 like a sprint to write the first part of my manuscript (novel) of "science-fantasy" (science-fiction AND fantasy at the same time). I wanted to have something in hand, the beginning of a project that I could let someone read and have some comments. It gave me a motivating deadline, I was enough advanced in my plans and preparation to hold this challenge. 115 pages written in one week (ok, well, about 30 were already written when I started...) and the second week to review and correct.

On the Sunday of the conference, I've assisted to a panel "Publishing for dummies". Going there, I thought I knew what I need to know about publishing, but it was the dreamed occasion to verify. And effectively, I could guess the majority of the answers, which is a good point gained on my part! 

On the other hand, Francine Pelletier (author, who's also member of the reading committee of Alire
publisher) did a refreshing commentary. The subject was around the moment where the manuscript is completed. We have to be critical toward ourselves and get a constructive criticism from our circle... and not from our mother or best friend :

"Don't send a manuscript right when you just finished writing it, she said, and most of all, if you are convinced that it's super cool. Let it sleep in the in a drawer, forget about it for a few months, then reread it. If you are still convinced that it is super good, then it hasn't sleep long enough!"
A brilliant story needs time and reflection. I was good advise.


Back home after the conference, I received a few commentaries about the first part written. I wanted to let some time pass before deciding what to do with it (which comments to keep as good point, which one throw away...) and continue writing in the meanwhile, since it was going so well the two past weeks. Well, no. I couldn't write! Jammed! And yet, I have very detailed plans of every chapters, every scenes! for the whole book! This was "forced writing", not fluid. Not good...

At first, I thought I'd "lost the feeling" that gave birth to the story, just like what haunts me on the side of drawing and painting and I was on the edge of a panic attack: "Not another project that falls into nothingness! No no no!"

In fact, it seems that it was stronger than my head, my story claimed by itself the drawer. It retired for a few months meanwhile I worked on something else. And recently, it came back haunted me... with, on the surface, all the weaknesses, all the wrongs, all the elements that it does not make sense.

So it's time to re-write! Ah, the first time I was told I had to rewrite a manuscript (on which I worked for 2 years), I almost had a depression. My oldest friends may remember that time... Today, I know it's part of the process of a manuscript and henceforth, I no longer work two years to get back to it! I developed my working method differently, with more elaborate and detailed plans... and it is mainly these plans that are re-written! ^ _ ^

And what's really cool in a rewrite, is that suddenly, everything is possible again! For when we get to a certain point in the development of the project, we are forced through the corridors that we drawn ourselves. "Such a thing is not possible, because we have to get to this point in the plot... and if he meet her before, it no longer works due to... And he has to die, otherwise this part of plot is not working out...". By setting back the manuscript to square one, all corridors fall and ALL can be questioned. All MUST, in fact, be questioned!

I have not yet finished the new version, but I have a character who has just taken 50-60 more years old. Couples won't be the same, which allows me to introduce two new very colorful characters. I have a secondary character who has changed sexual orientation (which does not really change the story, but adds a new flavor). One of the three main characters just changed profession, which changes a little part of her personality that was ambiguous or unclear in my mind... and also changes several lines of the plot. I have some other ideas that move still, but I have not yet decided.

Who said it was boring to rewrite? = D
Well, gotta go back, I still have to develop the "plan B" of the conspiracy of the...
*She's gone*

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