This past weekend I had another meeting with my mentor. Now, every meeting thus far has been great. Amazing, actually. But this was on a league of its own. Sometimes we grow in inches, sometimes in leaps and bounds. This was a bound.
We were discussing my manuscript. She had officially read through the whole thing and we were discussing big picture issues, problems with plot, believability and certain characters were feeling rather flat. And in the course of that discussion, she was giving advice on rewriting. Because that's what this would be. A lot of rewriting, not just editing.
"Editing is when you go in, and you're making little tweaks here and there. Adjusting a word, changing a sentence. If you get too caught up in the manuscript as it is and wanting to keep it, you won't allow your characters to make their own choices, you won't give yourself the room to make real change." I thought about it, picturing how we often make those minor, esthetic changes, wandering through rooms and straightening pictures, changing the paint, adding accessories. That's great, but sometimes we need to knock down walls, rearrange pipes and wiring. That's when rewriting is called for.
It's scary, but it's also exciting. I'm standing on the edge of the precipice. When I step over the edge, I won't be settling for the story I started to tell, I'll be striding for the story I want to tell. This is a point where a lot of writers stall. It's a point I've stalled. But now I have someone to hold my hand, lead me through, and even though it's going to be frustrating and a lot of hard work, it's also going to be rewarding and challenging and enlightening. This is where I really grow as a writer. And that's amazing.