I’m working on a story I thought I finished seven years ago. After sending it out a few times and getting some responses, I decided I needed to rework the ending. Which I started doing seven years ago, then decided to work on a couple new stories instead. Those stories sold, which is good, but now it’s time to get back to the rewrite.
Often it’s easier to start over rather than rewrite something, but this story is close to eighty thousand words, and I really like the first two-thirds. It’s just the last act, so to speak, that needs revising. So here I am, trying to decide what to keep and what to throw out.
In other words, this rewrite isn’t simply to correct sentence structure, grammar, or spelling. No, I need to actually dig into the plot and find a better way to get to the end. The story needs more tension. A ticking time bomb. Someone in peril. A reason for a reader to keep turning pages.
I also need to make sure I make things occur as they would in a real situation. I can’t simply manipulate my characters so I get to the ending I want. I need to follow the ACTION/REACTION concept. If X occurs, then my main characters will say/think/do Y. I also can’t make them do anything I haven’t already written into their training or personalities. Well, I guess I could, but then I’d have to go into an earlier section of the story and give them that training or personality trait.
In many ways, rewriting is fun. It’s a “Instead of this happening, what if…” situation. As a kid, I used to do it all the time. After seeing a movie or reading a book I really liked, I’d rewrite the ending…sometimes casting me in the story, sometimes not. It was easier then because my new ending didn’t need to be logical, it simply had to satisfy my daydream of the day. The ending to this story I’m now working on needs to be logical…but you know what, I think it’s still going to be fun.
And that’s why I enjoy writing. Unlike real life, I can control how things work out. That’s a powerful feeling.