On Car Repair and Rewrites

This is one of the best analogies of editing / re-writing that I’ve seen. It perfectly captures the hard work that has to go into writing a novel, the necessity of it, the pain but also (hopefully) the joy of the final result … eventually.

WRITERS' RUMPUS

By Almitra Clay

As I have rewritten the manuscript of my novel, I’ve had a mental picture of myself: I’m a mechanic leaning so deep into a car’s innards that just my legs stick out. I’m pounding on something that probably shouldn’t be hit with a wrench. Every so often I yank out some part gross with rust and grease, which I toss over my shoulder onto the lawn.

Illustration by Almitra Clay Car repair, novel repair, it’s all the same. Right?

There are quite a lot of those parts lying around. Discarded chapters. Plot arcs. Characters.

So yeah, that first car was my NaNoWriMo draft. It was my first novel ever. I was ever so proud that I’d made a proper car-shaped thing that did what a car is supposed to do. It rolled! The horn honked! Never mind the duct tape, or the missing exhaust system, or that the whole thing would…

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