And now for a complete rewrite

When George Plimpton of The Paris Review [pages 6-7] asked Hemingway why he rewrote so many times, he said:

I do it to get the words right

He was right. Of course he was right. He always is. (He also wrote standing up. Perhaps I should try that.)
Since 16 June, when I delivered what I fondly believed to be an almost-finished draft of my new novel to my agent, I have read her report and her reader’s report and we have met and I have written a new plan for the novel and said agent and reader have reported on my new plan and we have talked again and during the whole process I have realised:
that there are many ways to tell the same story
The trick is to choose the way that best serves the particular story you are writing. (Not as easy as you might think.)
But as I begin the rewrite I am excited and enthused and delighted by what lies ahead, and altogether a rather more grown-up writer than the one who began this process. (I reverted, when I first read the reports, to a spoilt, five-year-old, misunderstood child but by the time we met I had, mercifully, recovered my senses – and my age – and arrived full of ideas for ways to rewrite along the lines they suggested.)
I am still searching for a title. At the moment it is SONG of the STARS but I hope a better one will occur as I rewrite. But if any of you should come up with a title for a novel set in late Victorian/early Edwardian and just post-World-War-One England and Scotland, whose central dramatic event is my protagonist’s survival of the sinking of the Titanic and her change of heart and character as she tries to cheer her frightened fellow passengers beneath the bright stars (it was a calm, cold, extraordinarily starlit night) I would love to hear from you.
And in case you were wondering why all the hills, they’re not indicative of the ones I must climb as I rewrite, but of the beautiful Lomond Hills in Fife where my protagonist will live for part of the novel.

About Angela

I write fiction about the difficulty we have when we try to say what's in our hearts.
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6 Responses to And now for a complete rewrite

  1. BooksPlease says:

    Well done! and come back to blogworld – even if it's only briefly. It sounds as though you've a lot of work to do yet on your second novel but at least you've got this far. I used to dislike re-writing but these days I find it strangely therapeutic (and I have to do it more and more). And that's just me instigating it – I'm sure I would react much like you if someone else took my work to pieces, helpful though that might be.

    As for the title "Song of the Stars" it doesn't really convey the subject of the book to me- but then titles often seem disconnected to the actual books sometimes – what do I know?? If anything else comes to mind I'll let you know. How much say do you have over the title?

    I hope it all goes well.

  2. Angela Young says:

    Thanks so much, Margaret. Rewriting really is the key and we writers need to do much of it.

    A writer said, 'All writing is rewriting,' and whoever she was (temporarily forgotten) she was right. It's just that my books are my children and I feel as protective as a parent, hence the (inner) hurdles on the way to agreement with agent and reader. But so much better this way round than to find the book gathering terrible reviews (which said the same things as the original agent and reader!)

    I have a great deal of influence over the title: publishers and agents tend to think that the writer will find the title in the writing and I did with the last one, so I'm hoping it will be so with this one too. One of the ideas is that my protagonist has a guiding star … but I tried out A STAR TO GUIDE HER on some thirty-somethings the other day and they voted it 'a bit cheesey' … unfortunately as soon as they said that I agreed! But something will come … it always does. (But do let me know if anything occurs to you.)

  3. Cornflower says:

    Probably no better than your 'A Star to Guide Her', but what came immediately to my mind was 'A Star to Steer her by' from Masefield's Sea Fever.
    Back to the drawing board…

  4. Angela Young says:

    It is better, Karen, and thanks so much for it. But the trouble is that it's already been used for the title of at least five books (some of a navigational variety, others novels) and so, in this world where there are so many many many books, another with the same title might just sink without trace (please excuse the pun).

    I tried out SONG OF THE STARS on a couple of friends the other night and their eyes lit up … so, swayed as I so apparently easily am, I might revert to it … we shall see.

  5. kate says:

    Hi Ange –
    I came upon this by accident -I see it's been on here for quite a while so any comment is probably out of date-however, knowing you, I'm sure that you have been glued to the computer and have produced a new,rewritten and improved book – if not then I'm sure the araldite is still going strong! Good Luck
    Can't think of a title offhand but if I do I'll return

  6. Angela Young says:

    Thanks,Kate. I deliver on 1 April (which is not supposed to be a joke). I think I'll make it – as long as the book's soul doesn't get lost in the struggle to achieve the numbers of words I need to achieve each day. But the awareness is all … .