Saturday, December 29, 2012

To Fix or To File?

Earlier this year I actually finished the story I wrote about in the previous post. It's the story that got stuck in my brain after not writing for 25 years, and brought me back. Finishing is my biggest writing block, so this was huge for me. I think I'd tried, and started over with this story at least 4 or 5 times. Changing point of view, changing what characters are it it all together, changing tense, changing from a short story to a novel. Finally I just wanted the thing done. And now it is.

Or is it?

While it is done in the sense that I wrote it all the way through to the end, it is an unreadable mess right now. I decided to set it aside for a month before starting on draft #2, and fixing the problems I know about. Not really such a daunting thing. Big changes are needed, for plot points that changed a long the way, and need to be brought in line in the beginning, and things like that. I kept what I think are good notes along the way. So I think it's doable. But is it worth doing?

I'm happy I finished. I'm proud even. My dilemma is that I just don't know if I feel that even with all the repairs done, and polished up as best I can, that it'll be an interesting story. Honestly, if it isn't, it doesn't upset me like I thought it would. It was still a great experience, and I learned a lot. I think I'm a better writing now than when I began even the latest version. Looking at it as a very long, wandering writing lesson would be fine by me.

So I guess I wonder my writing time would be better spent writing something new than fixing up something that will then live quietly on my hard-drive. There are doubtlessly lessons to be learned in the revision process as well. There is learning to be found everywhere, after all.

I had decided to let the story sit for a month before starting on the revisions. It has now been 2 months, and I still haven't peeked back at it again. I'm leaning toward pulling it out in the new year, and seeing if the distance of time as really changed my view of things, like so many folks tell me it will. I suspect, I will try to fix it up, if only so I can feel more finished with it.

I'm curious about you other writers out there and how you handle your revisions. I've read blogs that advise sticking to Heinlein's rules, including "Never rewrite." Then there is the camp that believes "Writing is rewriting.". Where do you land on the revision/rewriting spectrum?