Rewrite Tricks and Treats

Over the past couple of months I’ve put myself on a deadline for a writing project that’s gone into the drawer and come out a few times. Right now the manuscript is going through a major story renovation and this Halloween season here are a few tricks that are helping me:

  1. Showing up for short bits of time. For this project I’ve developed a habit of writing first thing in the morning. I'm using the time that I normally dedicate to journaling, and for now it's working. I may have time to come back to this story later in the day, or not. Either way, I’m slowly, consistently moving the story forward just a bit in that one hour. 
  2. Recognizing what isn’t working and pulling it out. I’m trying very hard to be honest with myself about this as I’m rereading and rewriting. It was painful at first, but it’s getting easier the more I do it, and having room in the manuscript leads to:
  3. Capturing new ideas that I hope will strengthen the story. I didn’t go into this revision anticipating new themes or story threads, but that is what's happening as I'm cutting away the excess. What a surprise - a trick that's turning into a treat!

And here is the real Halloween treat: The Great Blue Pumpkin of Deerfield, Illinois.

Last Halloween I was in the Chicago area and passed through Deerfield where they had a fabulous display of very large decorated pumpkins. This one was particularly interesting to me. Not only is it a blue pumpkin covered in cobwebs and spiders, but caught in the web are words: Community, Kindness, Charity, Hope. The other side reads: Wish, Care, Love. Isn’t it wonderful? I wish I knew the artist’s name so that I could give credit.

Happy Halloween, and Happy Rewriting!


This essay originally appeared at Smack Dab in the Middle Blog.

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