I’ve heard it said by writers – ” the real work starts after you finish the book.” We’re talking about the laborious task of rewriting.
The first draft of a manuscript is anything but a breeze, however, it feels much breezier than sitting down to scrutinize each sentence, paragraph, and chapter. In a first draft, a writer has the opportunity to simply write – just blurt it all out – and type as fast as his mind can think. That’s really the fun part, but sadly the part that so many would-be writers never make the leap to begin. Perhaps their “dark and stormy night” introduction devour all the creativity they might have later in the book (reference the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, a whimsical literary competition that challenges entrants to compose the opening sentence to the worst of all possible novels). Whatever the reason for not starting, might I assure you, this is the easy part.
I’ve just finished rewrite #2 – where I go back through the manuscript and add in some factual details, check dates and places, and find the actual names of streets and people. This is the part where my maps and journal come together to tell an emotional story with added detail. It makes the book all it is becoming to be. Details bring the story from a regurgitation of events to a story of emotional and physical growth while becoming one with an 800-mile strip of asphalt.
Perhaps the best day in a writer’s world is reaching that final paragraph, composing that last sentence, and earning the right to let your fingers type out THE END. A writer cannot help but hold his fists high, slowly stepping away from the manuscript with a close eye upon it while it settles. Whatever ritual long-published writers have, this is the time it happens. This is the glory moment.
Sadly, this moment happens but once per book. Even though I will re-write the book cover-to-cover several times, that the last two words will not change.
I do feel grateful that I’m just ‘that much’ closer to publishing a book. Simply seeing the words THE END holds excitement for what comes next. And right now, it’s the next rewrite.