Today I wrote the same scene twice, once from the hero’s point of view, and then again from the heroine’s. This was not an intentional exercise to serve some purpose in characterization or a practice in sensory description. This was simply a process in my writing, and one that happens to me all the time.
I was writing a scene of sexual tension, which is harder than other types of writing for me. The first go round came across as creepy, a male thinking about a female in inappropriate ways considering the situation. The second version, in the female point of view, still didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t put my finger on why. And then on the drive home from the coffee shop, I had an epiphany. I have the action happening in the wrong setting. Time for the third re-write. I have no doubt that will require several passes before I get it correct as well.
To me, that is the crux of what it is to be a writer. “To write is to re-write,” so they say. I think I generally delete about 75% of my very first words on the page. Even this blog has been an exercise in deletion. My first words are always so bad, I refuse to even call them a “first draft.”
So why do I keep at it? Because that moment of epiphany is like a drug, a moment of extreme satisfaction that goes beyond merely putting words to paper. And because I can’t not write. Writing, even re-writing, is a joy for me. The weight of my laptop is like a favorite blanket as I puzzle out the words on the page. Each piece has to fit perfectly against the next, until the entire picture becomes whole. Between the epiphany and the puzzle of words, I love the satisfaction of finally getting things “right.”
To all you other writers out there, here’s to inspiration and to getting things “write.”