Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On Rewriting

Oh, how I hate it. Time was, I wrote a story or a book, stuck it in the drawer and forgot about it. I had indulged my pleasures by writing it; it was my thing, like other people play hockey or go to the lake. I love to write. The creation was the best part. Now that I've gone all commercial, it means dragging that stuff out and attempting to make it marketable.

There's another word I hate. Mar-ket-ing. Bleaaaahh. The stories I write satisfy something deep in me. When I workshop them and discover a disconnect between my muse and my audience, it comes down to the old, icky decision of "Do I change it or do I leave it alone?" Is it truly impossible to sell a story that says profound things you want to say but has a main character nobody likes? It is especially hard to decide when the protag is that way for a reason--not necessarily unsympathetic, but nobody wants to relate to that person. Nobody wants to live inside the skin of a coward for 200 pages, but on the other hands, cowards can really be interesting. Or funny. Or pitiable. They make us think about our own limitations, which is why no one wants to inhabit the guy's head for any length of time.

I suppose I should spend more time reading "great literature" like Lolita to discover how to make a pedophile worth reading about. Or maybe just hunt hard for an editor who looks beyond the gut reaction to the truth in the story.

Okay. Back to my difficult rewrite of a story I like very much, but even I agree the protag needs work. (And no, she's not a coward. Just terminally naive.)

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