A rewrite’s first-through

So, having got my life, house, and correspondence more or less up to date (which is pretty good considering 3 weeks away generally leads to 3 weeks’ catch-up) I picked up The Language of Bees and began to read.

I always begin this first-read process swearing I will do it without a pencil in hand, just a fast read-through to judge the story, the pace, the overall quality of the plot and characters.

Uh huh, right. I got to the end of the first page before my itching fingers finally grabbed a pencil and wrote at the top of the page, Needs to grab.

And so it goes, with a burst of quick-read for a few paragraphs until I come to one that cries out for reworking, for making it clearer or smoother or for working in some point that leads up to a later revelation…

Until I figure out how to read with my hands tied behind my back, I’m doomed to fiddle. I can only hope that the fiddling doesn’t get in the way of my perception of the larger issues…

Comments

  1. LaideeMarjorie says:

    “I can only hope that the fiddling doesn’t get in the way of my perception of the larger issues…”

    Laurie,

    I have never seen any signs of your losing the larger issues before, so don’t worry! At least not too much. I am thrilled that you are back to work on LANG after your trip and your catching up. Thanks again for the update.

    “Needs to grab.”

    Well, now, if you and vicki don’t make us up some buttons (or t-shirts?) to buy with that written on it (to wear at Bouchercon or just in real life), we are missing out big time!!! LOL. Has there ever been better writing advice distilled down to its very essence?

    –Marjorie

  2. Strawberry Curls says:

    “Needs to grab.”

    You are so correct, Marjorie, that about says it all, doesn’t it?

    I love these glimpses into your writing process, Ms. King. I keep telling myself not to get too excited, the publication of LANG is still quite a ways off, but I can’t help it, my heart starts beating faster every time I read that you are working on it. Here’s to a smooth “fiddling” phase. Your readers are waiting with as much control and patience as is humanly possible. Your little updates make the waiting a bit easier, thanks.

    Alice

  3. Roxanne says:

    “Needs to grab.” [Snort!]

    Laurie, the openings of your books never fail to grab. For instance, your beginning to BEEK has to be one of the best opening sentences of all time (“I was fifteen when I met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him”).

    [Well, now, if you and vicki don’t make us up some buttons (or t-shirts?) to buy with that written on it (to wear at Bouchercon or just in real life), we are missing out big time!!! LOL.]

    Great idea, Marjorie. Now, what kind of graphics can we pair with that remark? Hmmmm …

  4. Well, my first response was “She’s picked up her pencil again — yay!!!!!!!” 🙂 But I think I sort of know what you mean. When I read student papers I always swear that I’ll start with a quick read to get the big picture before I take my red pen to them. My resolve seldom lasts beyond the first paragraph (so you do much better than I!). I’ve never even tried to re-read a first draft of anything I’ve written without rewriting as I go (but I’ve never written anything as long as a book, either!).

    Here’s wishing you a happy return home, freedom from smoke and flames, and lots of productive work on LANG!

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