How does one begin to rewrite something so bad, so cringe-worthy that one can barely look at it? This is one question I am faced with on my pursuit of re-crafting the novella ‘Ezme’. Each present ‘chapter’ is about six-hundred words as a maximum, the entire thing is in present tense, there is little description so as to not set the scene, or too much description and focus on one character, it generally feels as if there are chunks missing. Ah.
So how do I begin? With the bases of the chapters I have, yes, but I must find some way to fill them in with information and scene-setting without going overboard. Though I have rewritten and edited before, I have never had to on such a scale; even my first novella ‘Of Jackets and Phones’ had a coherent line of a moving plot, rather than dots of significant events!
First of all, I’ve decided, I must have a more dynamic cast. I have the protagonist, Ezme Winters, and the narrator, Jess, and their ‘supporting’ characters (with whom I shall have to work on developing their personalities stronger and background more credible). On the other hand, my antagonists are rather vague, especially in the first ‘year’ of the flashback, where Ezme is bullied by a selection of random students who do not occur in the story after their one or two chapters, or are always referred to by group: ‘the Fourth Years’.
So, I guess that is what I will have to spent time picking at as I work on the rewrite, crafting stronger enemies from those who are already there, and eliminating the random ‘extras’ who yo-yo in and out of chapters just to annoy present me.
Next task? Tone, atmosphere and pace…
Sometimes, with this rewrite, it feels as if I am rolling the dice, waiting to see which characters will emerge from their positions on the gameboard of life.