So I’m about 15K words into my third version of A Gift of Grace and it’s actually going pretty well. (Please, please, universe, do not let those words jinx me.) But I had confidently told myself when I started this revision on December 17th that as soon I’d rewritten the first few chapters, I’d be able to use lots of material that I’d already written. It would be more of a deep revision than an actual rewrite. Five chapters in, it’s clear that I’m an idiot. Or at least good at lying to myself. Did I really always know it wouldn’t work out that way? If I’d admitted that to myself, I’m not sure I could have started rewriting. I might have been too discouraged. But never yet have I found it easy to re-use text if I start rewriting.
A revision is one thing. I can remember finding a totally frustrating plot hole in the middle of A Gift of Time. (If they’re looking for something, why don’t they just ask Zane to find it, instead of trying to follow a ghost around?) I had to revise to fix it, and it wasn’t particularly easy since I was eliminating a character from a scene, but it was a revision. That chapter still fit snugly in between the chapters on either side. And lots of my other revisions are minor, of course. Tweaking dialogue, smoothing out clunky stuff, eliminating repetitions, watching for over-used words or mannerisms — I’ve got a whole long list of stuff that I do during the revision stage.
But this is not a revision that I’m working on. It’s a rewrite. And the flow of the text is totally changing, so scenes that will be a lot like material that I’ve already written are not close enough to be re-used as they are or even revised heavily. They need to be rewritten.
This is… painful. It’s particularly painful when there’s a part that I really like and I can’t see how to re-use it. This morning I stumbled across one such and it made me laugh. I don’t know how or if I can re-use it — I’m definitely going to try — but just in case I can’t, here it is, saved for posterity. I hope it makes you laugh.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” Olivia said. She’d taken her seat behind the reception desk again. She picked up the paper on the top of her in-box and said brightly, “I’ll just be working away. On, um…” Her brow furrowed. “A purchase order for the quantum teleportation guys. Why do they want us to buy them cats?”
“No cats,” Grace said firmly, snatching the paper away from Olivia. “They’re trying to sneak that one by you because I already said no. I’ll talk to them.” She glanced down at the paper, shaking her head. “Why couldn’t Schrodinger have theorized about goldfish?”