My Prayer for Florida: Please God, know how worried I am about the devastation heading for the State of Florida. I, like many others across the globe, have been riveted to news about this unbridled hurricane. On its brink, Mexico has suffered one of the biggest devastating events in recorded history–a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. My God. What’s happening? How do we consider the world’s problems and not feel small?
Look, I write for a living. I write fiction. These events are the real. I pray for the people of the world. I pray for their safety and for their families. And as I write about things of the human condition, all I can think to say is, God bless you all. God bless you all.
Written two days ago:
AFTER-THE-SEASON WRITING, which happens for me after tourist season where we live. During the summer, our little island is flooded with visitors, bikers, campers all wanting the Pacific Northwest island experience. And who can blame them. This place makes me feel like I’ve landed in Heaven-on-Earth.
Much of my after-season writing deals with new writing but a lot deals with rewriting. The rewriting might be one of my favorite parts of the writing process and critical for storytelling. Sometimes, people confuse rewriting with editing. And, although rewriting utilizes editing elements, a rewrite takes unclear or irrelevant information and either clarifies that information or removes it entirely. A rewrite can include sweeping changes–adding entire scenes or removing scenes. Sometimes, and this is the fun part, a rewrite will crack open a new line of thinking or subplot that your original writing omitted.
As I rewrite my latest upmarket women’s thriller, I am reminded of Hemingway’s take on writing the end of one of his novels, Farewell to Arms.
The following is off the submission guidelines page from Author Rights Agency…
Ernest Hemingway interviewed by George Plimpton, The Paris Review, 1954:
INTERVIEWER: How much rewriting do you do?
HEMINGWAY: It depends. I rewrote the ending to “Farewell to Arms”, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied.
INTERVIEWER: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
HEMINGWAY: Getting the words right.
Isn’t it perfect? Thirty-nine times. Wow. You have to love Hemingway. He’s right too. How I go through an edit or rewrite, I look at each sentence and ask myself: Is this clear? Can I restructure it to make it stronger? Is the imagery tight in the choice of words? Would my character think, feel, or say this? If any answer is, No! Then I change the sentence. I sometimes re-change a sentence so many times, that I fear I will lose the original meaning of why I wrote the passage in the first place. But, magically, the rewrite only strengthens the original idea by adding characterization and sensuous detail that were lacking in the previous drafts.
I have gotten some wonderful feedback on my latest novel. Feedback from people ranging from the consumer reader to the publishing professional. Each person has their own preference, a different take and compassion for the characters, the situations, and the conflict within the story. So, will I do with that input? Well, I’m taking many comments and applying them to the story.
Justly, I’m also kissing the palm of my hand and throwing out a big, smoochy, “Thank you!” To all my readers. Your time and consideration will only help make the story stronger.
Now, for some good work–more new writing, more rewriting, and more editing.