Writing is rewriting

I’ve begun the read through of Finnegans Afoot. I’ve been making lots of notes about things to add or emphasize and things to review for continuity problems (are they hiking up the mountain or down it? is the scene set on a Wednesday or a Thursday?). Plus I want to smooth the areas where I had earlier added ideas long after finishing a given chapter and such. The total word count of the first draft was a little low as well, so I’ve been looking for opportunities to slip in more substantive writing (rather than just fluff). I’m confident that it will all come together. As I noted earlier, I grew to like this story much more as it grew closer to completion.

Even so, after reviewing five chapters (not quite one third of the novel as currently written) I’ve only netted a gain of 147 words. Could it be that the novel is so perfectly written that it requires no significant work? (Of course not! Don’t think I’m being vain.) I suspect that it is the nature of earlier chapters to be better polished simply because they have been around longer and have had regular work done to them during the process of writing the whole novel.

Writing is rewriting. I learned that lesson long ago. Every bit of writing benefits from a cooling off period followed by heartless review and reworking. One ancient Greek philosopher recommended letting a piece of writing sit for something like eight years before coming back to it to revise it. I don’t think I want to wait that long, but I only finished the last chapter a week or so ago, and I suspect that I’ll need to give it yet another heartless review after a few months.

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