Mystery and fantasy writing

Rewriting — Literally

I just finished rewrites on Now You See It, the third Grace Street Mystery, which will be published this October. I love the rewriting process, mainly because I get to revisit Grace Street and find lots of new bits and pieces, new motivations, new clues, and somehow, it all comes together.
One particular experience with rewriting I can recall was in seventh grade English class. We were asked to write a descriptive paragraph. My teacher said, “Write your first draft in pencil and go over it in ink,” which I took literally. After writing my pencil draft, I very carefully traced over each word in ink, a daunting process, until my mother clued me in.
In this wonderful computer age, revisions are a snap. There’s cut and paste and copy and delete – zip! It’s done. In the olden days—yes, children, gather around the fire—we had mysterious substances called carbon paper and Correcto-Tape and Wite Out. I would always get to the bottom of a page before making a mistake. Out came the white goo with its tiny brush, the meticulous painting, and then the wait while the stuff dried. Then typing over the dried spot, hoping to be in the right place. Wow. Did I really go through all that?
Now, the freedom of the first draft! Just write! It doesn’t have to be perfect. It doesn’t matter if I can’t think of a word and put in xxx, or skip to another scene. All can be magically fixed with a few clicks of the keyboard or a swipe of the mouse, a long way from my patient tracing of penciled words.
I did get an A on my paragraph, though.


Comments on: "Rewriting — Literally" (1)

  1. I remember the same types of assignments — and the same frustrations!

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