Rewrites – The Pleasures of Authorship

I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done. Steven Wright


Ah, the rewriting of a book. A task similar to diving from thirty feet into a bucket of your own vomit. But infinitely less pleasurable.


Alan Heroically Gazes at His Remington Typewriter

I’m taking a break from The Big Rewrite to blog about it. Do you notice how better it looks when capitalized, ‘the big rewrite’ just looks puny. Capitalising it makes it look more heroic and important. As if Alan Ladd was pounding out an expose about the boxing world, on a battered Remington typewriter, while the goons are kicking the door in.

Mind you – there’s nothing heroic about what I’m doing except trying to force fit a ‘Hero’s Arc’ into a story that I thought had one already.

My critiquer said, ‘there needs to be a strong central character that the reader can identify with’. He obviously missed the 15 year old ‘Elephant Syndrome’ boy and the twin savant dwarves. I’ve taken them to heart, but then I’ve been sharing a bathroom with them for 2 years (if I could only stop the Elephant Boy from peeing on the tiles! I know his anatomy is a bit squinty, but he could compensate before letting fly).


Where did I come from? Tuscany of course!

So the rewrite goes on – I’m at the part where I’ve changed so much of the text it’s an unconnected mess. But I’m assured the text fairies will arrive late tonight and in the morning the thing will be finished.

This may seem a touch fanciful to you but, hey, it’s a strategy? Isn’t it?

Mind you, before I started I set up a storyboard showing how the three main characters interact at key points. Then I wrote down a synopsis of the ‘event chapters’ then I fleshed out new characterizations/ motivations/ actions for each character.

Then I sat down to write and forgot the lot as me and my subconscious grappled for control of the keyboard. If I’m honest my subconscious is the real writer. I kick the story off and after 20 minutes he turns up and completes what needs to be done. Next morning I delete the first 20 minutes of writing.

Old subbie’s stuffs not bad, a bit too deep and meaningful for me, but I’m a dolt. What do I know?

 I kept a notepad and pen by my bed for years so that I could note down the subconscious inspiration that my dreams contained. After 4 years all I had was ‘the skin is mightier than the banana’. Bambo’s Big Book of Wisdom

 So while you’re all imbibing wine and living the ‘loca vida’ tonight I’ll be hunched over my laptop completing a masterpiece that is so deep only James Cameron in his mini-sub will be able to get to the bottom of it.

As I sit with my face screwed up in concentration (the face my wife says makes me look like ‘a baboon’s a*se trying to whistle) I will think of you all in exotic locations, like Duluth or Coatbridge, entertaining your friends ‘en-vivant’.   

Ah, rewrites – if only I had a garret to escape the vicissitudes* of life, all would be well.

*Don’t pretend you know what it means, Google it FFS.

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