Thursday 13 November 2008

WRITING: The Rewrite Reggae (Day 29 to 36)

DAY 29 (06/11/08):

Frustrated by technical glitches (what have I formatted into my document that has disabled a MSWord function I’ve used for the last 3 weeks?) So used that as an excuse to procrastinate and skip writing.I did watch plenty of post-election TV. How were those speeches?!? McCain is a true warrior: he fought to the end and accepted defeat graciously (but thank heavens the White House is safe from Sarah Palin for the moment!) Obama is just Obama! Poor man, what a tough job he’ll have to meet all the world’s expectations! There is so much our South African politicians can learn from this election. The most important lesson is that democracy exists without violence and intimidation. This has been an edifying experience. I don’t know when I’ll see anything half as electrifying on TV again!Tomorrow I’ll go back to writing. I promise.

DAY 30 (07/11/08)

Still frustrated by technical glitches but found a way to circumvent them. Managed to do 8 pages today (and remember these are single spaced A4 pages, so that translates to about 4000 words!).The high daily total was possibly because I’m no longer distracted by Moonrat’s haiku contest. And what a thrill it was to see two of my haikus on her blog. How can I believe myself when I say that I’m not in the biz to be published, but to be the best writer I can be. Ha! How easy it is to deceive ourselves. The sight of my name under two little haikus was orgasmic.I hope I can stop looking at Moonrat’s blog post long enough to do some work today.

DAY 31 (08/11/08)

Today was my favourite kind of day. Wet and deliciously rainy, the view from my studio window was enough to inspire even the most recalcitrant of writers! Not everyone likes the rain as much as I do, though. Author Kate Walker would swop her rain for sunny skies any day! Theodora and Josephine (the cats I am owned by!) agree with her. But I’m happiest in the rain.The rain made the whole day bloom with success. My husband got a sneak preview at his new monthly column “Tax Bites” in the print edition of the financial paper Business Day and I got to meet and speak with the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition Morgan Tsvangirai. Here’s a haiku (written for Moonrat’s haiku contest) dedicated to this leader who has done so much, and suffered so much, to help his people overthrow the tyrant Mugabe:The Bread Basket (subtitled: A Haiku for Zimbabwe)Eyes of poverty.Huge. Hungry. Hoping for help.A country can starve.All that and, despite Friday’s usual hectic schedule, I still managed a mildly successful 2 ½ pages of re-writing. I am content.

DAY 32 (09/11/08):

Up at 04h00 to save Theodora my cat from a sneak attack by Lancelot (the neighbour’s Persian cat that bullies poor Theodora). Too much adrenalin pumping through my body after running around the rainy-wet garden in my jammies so decided to do some work on my book. Four pages of re-writing before the day started. Just as well, because the rest of the day went belly-up.

DAY 33 (10/11/08):

A productive day in more than one area. As well as completing my Dad’s income tax return and doing too many household chores to list here, I also worked through four pages of Z’s section.
One thing I’m noticing about doing revision after such a long break from the book is how much more objective and ruthless I am when it comes to assessing my own writing. There are words, sentences and paragraphs that I was previously very attached to that I’m having no compunction slicing out of the text now. Example: “...while I, I am shredded,” says Z. When I wrote it, I thought it was the most beautiful phrase ever written. Now, it's contrived, pretentious and simply makes no sense in the context of the paragraph. I’m also seeing gaps and leaps of logic that need to be fleshed out.
This leads to...Rewrite Reggae Rule Number 4: Be objective when revising. Be ruthless.
DAY 34 (11/11/08):
Nearly 7 pages completed today. I enjoyed writing this section the first time and I’m enjoying it now. What I find interesting, though, is that this time around Z’s section requires more work then the previous two sections. I wonder if this is because I relaxed into writing Z and just let the words flow, where with L & J, I struggled and angsted over each sentence. This rewrite reggae is an excellent learning curve. Now I’m not surprised at the emphasis that the book industry professionals place on revisions and rewrites.
Still pouring with rain. I LOVE the rain but am starting to feel like a duck.
Quack. Quack.
DAY 35 (12/11/08):
Still raining. Still rewriting. Need I say more?
Today's Helpful Hint "Quickly write your first draft yet understand it's only a starting point and that it isn't ready for submission" is appropriate, what with all the talk of my on-line critique group's next BIAMer (Book-in-a-month), planned for January 2009. By the time that starts on 19/01/09 I want to have put this ms to bed and be ready to just sit and write the new story I've been brooding on. I'm determined to use this BIAMer properly: no inner critic yelling at me; no internal editor picking at my grammar and slowing my writing down! I just want to unleash the muse and let her fly...but before I can do that I have to finish the revisions of the current ms.
And to do that I may need to remind myself of Rewrite Reggae Rule Number 3 (Avoid procrastination) and Rewrite Reggae Rule Number 2 (Focus. Focus. Focus.)
DAY 36 (13/11/08):
Phase 1 of the Rewrite Reggae is complete. My total word count is up by 2000 words. Is this a good thing or not? I suppose it depends on the quality of the new writing. I’m taking a four day break from the ms until after the weekend; then I’ll begin Phase 2 of the rewrite: reintegrating the different sections into one unit and then checking the structure of the story as a whole.
I'll use these four days to get back to reading that excellent, but dense, text “7 Basic Plots” which, if I ever finish it, I'll review here.

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