I am working on what you might describe as the second draft of my book. I say 2nd draft because I have officially gone back to the beginning and am working through the chapters in order. Many of the chapters have already received more than two edits, so it’s really hard to say exactly what draft I’m on in that sense. But I feel like I am on a 2nd draft because I am looking at the chapters as part of a whole now, not just as individual chapters.
Because I’ve been writing this darned thing for more than a year, some of the sections I wrote back in the beginning when this project was just a glimmer in some corner of my brain, are not fitting so well with sections that got written later when tone, voice, and the pacing of the book were more established. This is a problem.
Here is the conversation various parts of my brain are having while I attempt to wrestle this thing into some kind of meaningful progression:
Smart, editorial part of brain: Must cut these old sections. They just don’t fit in. I’m going to have to rewrite large chunks of these early chapters.
Stubborn, writer part of brain: But! Noooo! Anything but that!
Smart, editorial part of brain: Come on, you know it’s for the best. You’ll be happy with the end result. I swear.
Stubborn, writer part of brain: Nooo! I love these parts! I don’t care if they don’t fit in. I am too attached to them to cut them. I mean, why rewrite when there is already something written? It’s too hard.
Smart, editorial part of brain: Don’t be such a wimp! Just select the text and hit the delete key!
Stubborn, writer part of brain: La La La La! What? I can’t hear you! I’m busy cataloging my personal library on the Internet.
Did I mention that in addition to being stubborn, the writer part of my brain is very easily distracted?
Yeah. Anyway, I am struggling to combine several sections of text. I’m a visual person, and one easy way for me to see the best outcome for cutting and pasting the sections is to 1) print out said text; 2) cut up sections with scissors; and 3) rearrange repeatedly. To do this, I need a big space and I have commandeered the bed. Well, actually, I have commandeered the entire bedroom. There’s paper all over the place. This method has been working fairly well so far (the cutting and rearranging method, not the paper all over the place method)…until today.
I am mired in what seems to be chapter 4. (It could be chapter 3, depending on how things go…my chapter 2, the background chapter, is a complete mess and I am thinking of shrinking it and turning it into a prologue or a forward or something.) The problem is that I am trying to fit a bunch of sections cut from both earlier and later chapters into one artfully crafted, flowing chapter that makes sense. Ok, there are 2 problems. Like I said, there are sections that were originally written before I actually realized I was writing a full-length book, as part of essays. the morph from essay to part of a chapter is not really working out. I know I need to let it go and use it as a guide to rewrite said section. Now that it’s taken me a day to figure that out and come to terms with it, I guess I have a plan of action for tomorrow.
And now I must contemplate my Internet library.