The re-write

Today is the last day that I should be starting a blog, so of course I’m going to do it. I leave tomorrow with my family on a ten-day trip, and I have done almost nothing to prepare. It’s always  in the busiest times, the times when I have no opportunity to write, that I have the most ideas. Suddenly, I know how to finish book two of CAROUSEL, and I have four new book ideas, but I can’t sit down! My husband suggested that I carry a tiny tape recorder around so that I can record my ideas wherever I am. I prefer my brother’s method, a small notebook stashed in my purse. It has saved me from daydreamer’s regret more than once.

This week my head has been filled with memories of my first draft of CAROUSEL, which I first wrote when I was twelve. That draft was lost somewhere in my youth, and so many times I have dreamed of running across it somewhere in my vast collection of boxes filled with my childhood junk. I’m sure it isn’t as wonderful as I thought it was at the time–I was twelve, after all. But I’ve come to think that it would be beneficial for me to find it and tap into the young girl’s mind that I left behind so long ago. She really knew how it felt to be adventurous and care-free. I would interview her very carefully!

CAROUSEL has been rewritten so many times now that I don’t think even one original sentence has survived. The first time I revised the manuscript I felt like I was murdering someone. It was my story–my baby– so how could I destroy it so willingly? It’s something every new writer will struggle with. I’m certain of that now. And sadly, I think it’s a struggle that  many writers will allow to conquer them. I’m over my “I love my first draft” blues now, and I’ve even come to love the process of reinventing my own story. My favorite thing: creating a new character in a rewrite. There’s something magical about adding a character. Suddenly there’s new dialogue and new depth. Someone exists who didn’t before, and I get to fall in love (or hate) with them!

I read somewhere recently (I’m an agent/author blog junkie, so I’m not sure where) that a writer should enjoy the process, not just get through it. That includes the writing, the re-writing, the dreaded querying stage, and all of the stuff I haven’t done yet. I have to admit that I hadn’t even considered finding a way to enjoy it. I had been looking at the process as the antagonist, the monster lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on my dreams. Enjoy it? What a crazy idea!  But why not? Why do this terribly difficult thing–getting published–if it isn’t fun? So that’s my newest challenge. Not only will I keep going even when I only see rejection, but I will enjoy being rejected. It will be my fuel instead of my dream-crusher.

And now I need to pack.


~ by Rachel McMahon on September 29, 2010.

4 Responses to “The re-write”

  1. I think you’re a great writer Rachel and even with your updated work I can still see that you’re just as creative as when you were a kid plus you have experience to go with it. I’m not going to lie there are days when I think everything I write is horrible and feel like I’m wasting my time but then on the other day I can’ t imagine not writing. I would keep a notebook with you. I carry one everywhere I go. I write down names, ideas and even dialog. If it wasn’t for the notebook I couldn’t write at all because the only free time I have is after everyone has gone to bed. You’re time will come just be patient.

  2. Thanks for stopping by and for the encouragement, Tammy! I know your time is coming, too.

  3. Rachel! I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone as creative as you. I can’t wait to read your book. Of course I want it personally autographed !
    We all love you and know your talent and perseverance is going to pay off big time. Hugs!!!


  4. Thank you, Kelly!

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