Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I'm swamped with papers. At this stage of the re-writing (or the re-re-re-re-re-writing) I am forced by my poor memory to have books open, maps unfurled, files and files of paper slipping around on my desk referencing WWI, the Four Minutemen, the price of flour in 1918, weather patterns in North Dakota, etc, in order to proceed. I wish that I had a brain like Louis' and Sam's. They are encyclopedias of knowledge. Further, once they hear, read, think of something, they don't forget it. I can't even remember the names of my own characters.
We had drinks with friends at the Bistro the other day, all writers of one ilk or another. I said that re-writing was like sweeping leaves ahead of you. It starts out manageable, but in pretty short order there's a mountain to push. Kathy said it was like trying to make your way around a room filled with cotton. Louis likened it to pulling off a hangnail. Sally wouldn't say...(that painful?)
I do like the very end of it all, truly at the final versions, paring language down, choosing just the right word to replace three, letting an image rise, playing with dialogue. Then, re-writing is less pushing a tree's worth of leaves ahead of you than it is sanding wood and watching the grain rise.