dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Rewriting An Older Work

The next ebook to be released by Zombie Publications is another short collection of shorts originally written back in 2006. 10,000 words have been trimmed off the 36,000 to begin with. One of the reasons is to reduce ambiguity. Much of the flash was written on the spur of the moment, straight into the machine, for self-entertainment. Not for an agent, not for a friend or family member, not for an audience, but for moi. For the sake, or heck, or love of, writing. There are some stories you only tell yourself. These are the best kinds of stories.

But there’s a problem when you have characters telling each other private jokes only the author knows about! Your private jokes are funny too I’ll bet, but go repeating them to anybody and your inner personal humour will most probably fall on flat faces.

Certain bunches of stuff have to be cut when you’re dreaming of customers in Baton Rouge. I’ve identified vagueness as a problem. So too conflict. Vagueness and conflict. Less of and more of. It’s a thin line between truly great and shite, but being brave and facing facts is a winning track.

Because six years have passed it is nice to go back and get inside it again. Enough of proof reading with fingers spread over the CAPS LOCK, DELETE, BACKSPACE and SPACEBAR (sounds like a rap to me), right-tracking the flashing cursor along as I read. No. It’s best to read with your arms folded and enjoy rolling back the years. If you have to edit a technicality, lean forward and do it, but then sit back again, because be aware, if you rewrite as you reread then you will have to reread the rewrite.

If you rewrite as you reread then you will have to reread the rewrite.

Ever wonder where all those errors come from? They kinda creep out from the woodwork and evolve during your edit. That’s because they OCCUR during the edit! I believe in keeping things very closely to how they were. I take great pride in saying here’s something I wrote six years ago. If I totally revamp it beyond all recognition in 2012, can I still say that? Did I write it now, or then?

This is minority advice, but a rewrite for me should only take place when you lose the damn thing. Otherwise a brief technical read-over edit will suffice. Wanna shove a new sentence in? Hey, no problem with that. Go whole hog and bung a new paragraph in there. Hell, START AGAIN if the fever grips you. But here’s the thing: Most of the writing takes place in your head anyway.

And here’s another thing:

As 'artistes', we’re clinging to the past. Believe. We’re clinging by our little finger nails. Everyone is. Think about it. Diaries, photographs, home video. Memories are all we have, and vintage is best. Go and write a how-to manual for the development of free energy in Arabic, and it may well outsell all that ghost-written bollocks in the Xmas charts, but it will never be that ode to nostalgia from yesteryear.

Nothing will. Ever again. Not without hypnotic regression and automatic dictation. Now try on peacing out already. Or even better, try on peacing in with your friends or the wife.

ABOVE: Each book "has a colour", strange but true, and changing the page colour  appropriately genuinely got me into the mood for this latest "rewrite".

AND REMEMBER: If you reread as you rewrite you will then have to retweet the rehype.

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