Tuesday, January 8, 2013
That Scene Needs a Complete Rewrite
It’s your best scene. You love the word choice, love the style, and love everything about the scene. No wasted words. No wasted sentences. The scene will get you that award – it’s a scene that would be talked about for ages to come.
One day, on your latest rewrite, you come across the scene again, and now you have something bugging you within. You calm yourself and read like you’re seeing that scene for the first time. You realize that something is wrong with it. You smile at the discovery and you say, ‘I can fix this easily.’ You begin a fixing that takes you some minutes. At the end you realize that you only worsened everything. And now you have no choice but listen to the voice inside, which says, ‘That scene needs a complete rewrite.’ You heave a sigh – more working hours for you.
Have you ever been in this kind of situation?
Yeah. Happened to me few days ago while I was improving my YA Urban Fantasy book, The Road Taken. And I can tell you that I dread rewriting a whole chapter or scene. But a writer gotta do what a writer gotta do – write, rewrite, and keep writing. I braced myself when I realized what the problem was in that scene, deleted every word, and started afresh. I thought it was going to be hard work, but it was easier than I expected because now I know what the problem was and I avoided it. When I was through I kept it aside for a day, then picked it up the next. I read the chapter again. The bugging was gone.
I think the hardest task during a rewrite is agreeing that a scene doesn't work and has to be thrown out or rewritten. As writers, we have to brace ourselves. If it has to be done, then do it. We can’t afford to have readers beginning to wonder why they’re reading our book, or why they’re reading a collection of written words instead of a story, or asking themselves, ‘Is this scene necessary?’
I think a good story should entertain instead of to confuse.
The question comes now:
As a writer, how do you tackle a passage or scene or chapter you’re not comfortable with? Do you try to fix it or do you rewrite the whole stuff? How do you feel about rewriting a whole scene? Please share your thoughts on this.
Posted by KayKay Obi