William A. Hainline: Reality Engineer

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Well, Back To The Drawing Board!

Well, my beta-readers have reported in on my novel. So far, Ana is halfway through the first third of the book, and Greg is about a third of the way through the entire book. So far, Greg's review of the book has been mostly positive, which is good, though he has some sharp criticisms of certain aspects (hilariously, one of his problems is with Dizzy's "vocal tic" of sayin "frak" every time she means to say "fuck," which most other readers find "cute," but that he finds obnoxiously annoying), which I do need to address in the next draft. Ana's review has been more mixed, and she has had some seriously critical feedback for me on many scenes in just the first 250 pages alone, which points to the idea that I may be looking at a bottom-up rewrite of the book, at least in terms of a lot of the scenes . . . which would lead me to just say "fuck it," and write the whole damn book over again anew, since so much of it would have to change anyway. A task I would not undertake lightly, since we're talking about a 480,000 word manuscript, here. That's 1400 pages worth of work if you double-space it and put it in Times New Roman. A Herculean task if ever there was one. I'm not sure I have it in me to do that. I mean, yeah, I guess I do. I mean — what choice do I have? It's either do that, or let the whole damn thing — all that effort, all that work previously — be for nothing. So I know I've got to do it. It's just psyching myself up for the job that's the issue. The thing is, I know it probably does need a rewrite. I mean, the book is in "first draft" mode right now. First draft. As in, a second draft needs to be done. So yeah, there's that. I'm just "not looking forward" to it, is all. But like I said — what else is there to do, other than hitch up my big boy pants, dig in, and begin the work?

Now, there are benefits to doing a bottom-up rewrite of a book. Certainly, there are. You change things when you do that, and often for the better. You examine every word of it, every turn of phrase. You switch around your phrases; you change sentence structure; you identify passages that work and don't work; you discover whole paragraphs that are redundant; you think about the coded messages delivered with your dialogue; you re-examine the impact of every scene upon your book's theme and overall philosophical underpinnings; you think about the plot structure more, and how everything you've written ties into that, and you begin to analyze how your book is put together on a fundamental level. You change the meaning of your book, and you hone the book's overall stylistic approach to its message, its story, and it's tone. You really get at the guts of it, because hell, it's the guts of it you're messing with. So, yeah, there are some definite advantages to doing a bottom-up rewrite, for sure. Like I said, it's just about psyching myself up to do it. I mean, I know I can do it. My mom suggested that I simply break up the job into smaller pieces. "You can eat an elephant one bite at a time," or so goes the old adage. Which is good advice, and hey — Scrivener already does that for you. So yeah, I know I can. It's just the firing myself up inside and sitting down to the do the hard work of putting pen to paper and getting it done that's the problem right now. I've got some time to get myself ready for that, at least: Ana won't be done with the entire book for at least another two months' time, and neither will Greg; he's on Chapter Nine, and she's on Chapter Four, I think. So I can wait until they're done giving me their opinions before I dive into the whole slam-bang rewriting phase. Which is good. That gives me time to jazz myself up for the concept of the rewrite, and to experiment with a few ideas I have floating around in my head for what I might like to do with a couple of those troublesome scenes that need work. Because with me, ideas are never the problem; it's their execution where I sometimes falter!