Commence Operation: Rewrite

A long time ago (it’s been more than a decade at this point), I wrote a crime novel that I called Twisted*. Sent it out to agents. Got one request for a full, but no other nibbles. In re-reading the manuscript a few years ago, I realized what I had on my hands:

Notes in the margin, Hi-Liter marks, coffee stains -- yeah, that's an old manuscript. The original version of Twisted is 424 pages, or about 120,000 words.

Notes in the margin, Hi-Liter marks, coffee stains — yeah, that’s an old manuscript. The original version of Twisted is 424 pages, or about 120,000 words.

A fairly mundane, by-the-numbers tale of a bank heist and double-crosses. As the manuscript sits now (roughly 120,000 words), I’d consider it a pastiche of Richard Stark–or maybe even a mash-up of Stark and Robert B. Parker.

When the book (correctly) didn’t sell, I put it aside–trunked it, if you will. I went on and wrote other things. But I never quite forgot the characters of Emmitt Karle, Billy Hatchett, Tommy Boyle, Bruce Prentice–and Soames, the lethal shark trailing in their wake, ready to gobble them all up.

So since the characters won’t leave me alone, I’m going to re-write the damn thing. The other night, while my wife was away and my son was safely asleep in his crib, I began thinking about the manuscript again, and I think I’ve pinpointed an area to start. It’s almost smack-dab in the middle of the original MS, and a turning point for the characters.

Problem is, there’s already been the death of a major character (one that will have to be told in flashback, if this rewrite works). That’ll lose some punch. But cutting to this turning point will absolutely make the book stronger. And maybe salable? I don’t know. That’s the aim, of course.

One of the main attractions to this work was how I wrote it. I rose every morning around 5:45, and wrote for an hour before I had to get to work. I just pounded that joker out. On the day I typed the final line, I remember the sheer joy in knowing I’d told an entertaining story. Of course, now I can see how it’s flawed. But, if I’m careful, I think I can redeem this thing. It’ll never be a best-seller, but I think it could be publishable.

One of the most daunting parts of this whole deal, though, is the actual rewriting. Other than the stained, folded and mutilated pages you see in the picture above, the only place Twisted exists in on two floppy disks (one neon green, one neon orange)–which means I have to re-key the whole thing.

Which means I ought to get started. Wish me luck.

*–Imagine my chagrin when a year or so later, NYT bestselling author Jonathan Kellerman came out with a novel by the same name. Ah well. What can you do?

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One thought on “Commence Operation: Rewrite

  1. Awesome!! As I think you know, I wrote the second draft of Night Shift entirely from scratch anyway, just put aside the first draft as really detailed notes on the world, characters and story and rewrote the whole thing into a new, blank file. If it helps, having read through what I have of this second draft and discovering it does actually (for the most part) make sense, I only planned it out in acts. So I planned the first act, wrote it, planned the second act, wrote it, etc, because I knew that planning the whole thing in advance would inevitably lead to me straying away as new ideas came to me and I’d have to re-plan anyway. So good luck!! I’m sure it’s gonna be awesome, especially if you got a request for a full originally. You’ve obviously got some great work to build on đŸ˜€

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