I just rewrote my first chapter… again. It’s taken so many forms I don’t even recognize it anymore. This is seriously like the 10th version. I’m not talking about edits and rewrites – I’m talking completely different openings, scenes, dialogue, etc.
Author Lee Gutkind said during a creative nonfiction workshop last year, “Write and rewrite till you have your absolute best work, and then stick it in a drawer for 6 months. If you can look at it again in 6 months and still say it’s your absolute best work, then it is.” Yeah, I think my limit is about 6 days. Can’t… stop… editing…
It reminds me of this old joke. Something about God creating Eve, but she had three breasts, so when God asked her if she wanted to do anything differently, she asked him if he could get rid of the useless middle breast. He did. Then she asked him for a mate. He said, “Eve, I will create ‘Man’ from a part of your flesh. Now, what did I do with that useless boob?”
I’m sure I’m missing a few key plot twists in that joke, but it makes me wonder whether I will ever make anything concrete out of the useless boobs of chapters and characters I’ve cast aside. Sarah Dessen, my favorite YA author, said today on her journal, “I fret, I worry. I agonize. I go in circles, I throw out books that don’t work—you should see all the ones in my closet, or maybe you shouldn’t—as I work, in my own weird little way, all the way to the end of a draft.” She’s got 7 published – 7! Best sellers! And still has a bunch of useless boobs in her closet? Is there, like, any hope for me?
Probably not, considering I have an 8 am meeting tomorrow, my butt just fell asleep, and my Amazon.com order arrived today (containing 3 of Sarah’s books and another by Judy Blume). Guess who’s not getting any writing done tonight?
(And guess who thinks it might have been kind of fun to have three boobs? Thanks a lot for screwing that up for us, Eve.)