Writing is rewriting – so says Joyce Carol Oates.
Sorry to say it but I’m not terribly thrilled by the idea of NaNoWriMo where writers aim for a 50,000 word draft in a month. Why not? Because every first draft needs editing.
There’s nothing so simple and joyous as a first draft. It’s like first dates, filled with giggling and flirty smiles and feeling delightfully sensuous though all you’re doing is talking about how your sisters tormented you.
The second draft is a torment – it’s like watching your soon-to-be ex-husband start dating the girl he’s worked with for the past six years. Gone are the love letters and promises as you discover the hideous summarising you put on the page, proudly patting yourself on the back at the time. Now you see it for what it is; a bony scene of dialogue that lacks a beginning, and ends with another of your signature clumsy cliffhangers.
That’s why I’m spending NaNoWriMo rewriting.
Don’t buy into the hype – NaNo is great for some, but make November work for you. Choose instead to write a blog a day like Louise, who’s juggling the intricacies of a life in flux and knows damn well that NaNoWriMo bears no resemblance to her current life, or move that 40,000 word draft into a polished piece of fiction with chapters that begin and end and characters that have actual names not blank spaces.
I’ll see you all on the other side…when we can decide what we want December to be.