The Great Rewrite Update I
I’m pleased to report the great rewrite continues to go swimmingly. Currently, I’m cranking away on chapter 21. On a pure chapter count measurement against the first completed draft, I have approximately 47% of the rewrite knocked out. However, I’ve noticed something interesting taking place. I’ve consolidated some chapters, added one or two, and the individual chapter length has burgeoned in size. Taking into account consolidation, I’m about 60% through the rewrite. I think the real percentage is somewhere between 50% to 55%. Anyway, I'm having a cracking good time doing it and – I hope, at least – diligently applying lessons from The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass. Honestly, I can’t recommend this book enough.
As for my chapter length increasing, I’m not kidding, not at all. In the first completed draft, I estimate the chapter length was about 2,500 words. In the rewrite an easy 2,800 words per chapter; in fact, four chapters have cracked the 3,000-word barrier. Now, you might think the dramatic word count increase would give me pause. It hasn’t… well, not much. First off, the writing is better, far better. Plus, I just started reading Writing the Breakout Novel by none other than the aforementioned Donald Maass. In the first chapter he points out that if you’re taking your fiction to the next level, the word count will go up and that's okay; it’s a good thing. To make the novel breakout from the page and really stick in the reader’s memory a lot of things need to happen and in writing those things are expressed through words.
By far the most unexpected aspect of the rewrite is how much fun I’m having. When I decided to embrace Matt Bird’s recommendation to forget about editing the first draft and plan to to rewrite it, I didn’t expect to have such a great time.