Radical Rewrite, Day 5

Averil summed up yesterday’s work quite nicely.

I tell myself I just have to do something every day. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, as long as I keep moving forward.

Exactly. In order to get out of my old writing habits, or rather, in order to wear a new path through my writing ideas rather than falling into old paths, I have decided to write by hand. My handwriting is terrible enough that I can’t do that for an entire draft, but my current project is plot summary.

Every day I write a page or so that describes what happens in a chapter. My idea is to write a chapter summary a day. In actuality, I’m writing a chapter summary draft a day. Yesterday I wrote about 200 words and then saw that I was going in two different directions. I turned the page, marked the date, and wrote 100 words that are going only in one direction.

What really pisses me off/reassures me about the rewriting project is that I can’t escape my ideas. The problem with my book is that I get too literal/chronological. This is exactly what Poetry Buddy used to tell me about my poems. “I don’t give a fuck if it happened that way,” she’d say. “Skim over the details.”

Skim over the details? Don’t explain in excruciating detail why the cherry soda I used to cross a busy street to buy as a kid lead directly to my lifelong horror of spiders? But it’s funny! It explains everything! You have to know this if you know me!

Writing up my second chapter summary attempt today, I used an image that I had first used in the first nonfiction piece I ever wrote in grad school. Nothing is new.

I think I summarized half a chapter, all told. But I wrote and I wasn’t upset about my manuscript in any way. 300 words. Progress. The words themselves are not important. I am moving forward.

Do you always circle the same story?

Don’t forget to enter Kill Your Darlings contest!

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2 responses to “Radical Rewrite, Day 5

  1. Many of my characters are loudmouthed librarians with self-esteem issues, so, yeah, probably.

    I realized a while ago that if I’m boring myself while writing a scene, I should figure out a way past that bit. Not everything has to happen on page for it to matter.

    Then again, I write fiction, and skipping over important childhood events or doing a quick POV change in a memoir won’t have the same effect.

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