Rewriting is an evolutionary process


MENEVO

A few days ago my good friend and Editor Peter Muller shared with me a compliment that inspired this post.


“Joe it is a great pleasure and gift to get to know you as we have worked together over the last four years. As I work on editing your manuscript I see the parallel between you and your character Jake on his journey to evolve and become enlightened.” Peter remarked.


“What do you mean by that?” I asked with a smile as big as Texas.


“You and your writing have evolved much like your character Jake does in the story. I have to say that you are on the path that is meant for you. You are becoming a great writer.” Peter exclaimed with a smile just as grand.


Peter rarely gives compliments, as an editor he is more likely to give a critique or voice an opinion about how a thought or idea could have been expressed in a more powerful way. I appreciate and am honored that he cares about me enough to teach me and guide me as I learn the craft of writing.
I thought I might share an illustration of how important rewriting is in the evolution of a story.


The following paragraph was selected from my upcoming novel The Talisman.


The rough draft:
Jake felt unlike he had ever felt, it was as if he was immense and small at the same time, he could feel his skin, his muscles, he could feel the valves of his heart open and close, the blood pulsing through his veins, he could feel his lungs expanding and contracting it seemed he could even feel the air separate and mix with his blood. He closed his eyes and even before he started to silently chant he could see the purple cloud and white ball he was becoming familiar with. He silently started to chant, it seemed to him his silent chant was loud and powerful even in its faint delicate silence.


The First rewrite:
Jake had a feeling within, unlike no other feeling he had ever felt. It was as if he was immense and small at the same time. When he sat down, he felt the life, in his skin, and in his muscles. He could feel the valves of his heart open and close, the blood pulsing through his veins. With each breath he could feel his lungs expanding and contracting it seemed he could even feel the air separate and mix with his blood. He had never felt so alive.


The Second rewrite:
When Jake sat down it was surreal as if he was in a dream. He was immense and small at the same time. He felt the cells in his skin, muscles and organs. He could hear the valves of his heart open and close, as the blood pulsed through his veins. With each breath as his lungs expanded and contracted, the air separated and mixed with his blood, he experienced the sensation of being alive.


Each rewrite expressed the same thought yet the last paragraph was far more concise and shared with the reader a more powerful picture. The last version was a better way of showing the reader than telling the reader when compared to the two previous versions.


As the writer I wanted the reader to feel what my character felt and used the word “feel” in its various tenses six times in the original draft, seven times in the first rewrite and only one time in the last rewrite.


Which paragraph do you feel is more powerful and captivating?


I read the first rewrite in a writing group thinking I had captured the essence of what I was trying to convey in a way that would invoke the imagination of my readers and inspire them to vicariously share my characters experience. Then one of the members of the group pointed out that I had used the word feel seven times in one paragraph.


As a writer it was an eye opening comment that made me look at how I could better capture the imagination of my readers by using my own imagination and choosing different words to captivate them.


Good writing is achieved through rewriting. Rewriting is how a story and writer evolve.


Thank you for visiting, I hope you enjoyed the experience and perhaps that in some way this post may enrich your life in some way. Thank you for being beautiful you and making our world a better place for all we share it with.

Namaste

6 thoughts on “Rewriting is an evolutionary process

  1. Lovely to have you Visit Joe.. and I thought I had not seen any new updates from you recently.. Sending thoughts your way and I hope that you get your techno-probs sorted very soon..
    Wishing you a Very Happy 2016 and Beyond Joe.. and may it bring all that you desire.. Happy New Year .
    Sue❤

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