Thursday, June 3, 2010

Revisions: The Phoenix Effect

I recently finished reading the second chapter of the vomit draft of my work-in-progress. I hadn't read it in several months, which helped me gain the perspective needed to admit that "vomit" is a charitable modifier for this particular draft. What a disaster! I wondered how I:
  • Created such an unlikable character
  • Crammed so many useless details into 5,000 words
  • Might chuck the whole thing and not, consequently, be driven to slash my wrists
And yet... once I stewed for awhile... considered a different approach... slashed out the passages that I found particularly annoying and/or humiliating (we're talking pages here)... fiddled with an opening sentence for a couple hours... I grew hopeful that I might squeeze a paragraph or two out of the mess. Hopeful, but not yet entirely convinced.

What's your first reaction when you re-read your work?