Rewriting, Part Two… Less ‘Aaargh’

Two months? Really?

Yes. I was on vacation. And when I wasn’t on vacation, I was goofing off. Poor excuses, but the best I’ve got.

I finished the 2nd draft in mid-July, and put it aside for a while and did some writing on my next book or books, “Tommy Collins: One Lad’s Adventures.” More on that later.


The thing I’m just now finding out about rewriting is that, with the characters firmly in my head, I can make changes more easily. I touched on that in my previous post, but what other authors say is really true: I can hear Alex, Sara, Mr. Crumley and others speaking when I write.

A small example: in the earliest chapters, I had Alex say things like, “I think she was trying to smile.” But Alex, as I now understand him, doesn’t know (or even much care) what other people are trying to do. He only sees what they actually do, and how it affects him. When Sara’s face turns red, he remembers what he’s learned: a red face might mean she is angry, or embarrassed, or even exerting herself.

Only when she punches him hard on the side of his head can he figure it out.

Another example: Alex is only comfortable in a narrow range of experiences, things he’s done before, or knows how to do. Things he calls normal. But everything in his world is turned upside down. Nothing is normal. How does he keep from curling up into a fetal ball?

On a ride to somewhere new, Alex takes the trip via computer, mapping out his route, finding familiar landmarks and calling up images of the streets on the way.

With the story pretty much set, fixing the early events (that needed the most work) to flow into the later ones becomes easier, too. More on this next time.