Monday, October 13, 2008

The joy of tutu-ing.

(Pronounced first 'tu' like 'foot', second like 'too'.)

I've been writing an academic English essay for the first time in years. This morning I spent about half an hour on two sentences. If I was doing that with my novel at the moment I would never get it written, so I just give things more a cursory stroking and move on, and then only if something is truly awful at the sentence level.

But I needed those two essay sentences to work hard for me - they were in the conclusion. (Snippet of memory from my BA days: I hate writing introductions and conclusions.) And I loved it. I loved pinpointing and refining and rewriting until I'd chosen just the right words to say just what I wanted to say with a lovely cadence.

Which made me realise how much I love rewriting sometimes (and at those times I would say, as others have said before, "writing is re-writing"). Today anyway, most definitely. And now I can't wait to get to the third draft stage of my novel, because by then I will have sorted out most of the big structural hiccups, captured the plot and the character and the voice and all those big picture things and I will be able to blissfully roll around amongst the minutae of the sentences for a while until they say exactly what I want them to. And I will enjoy just fiddling and wearing away at those words, turning them inside out and breaking them down.

But I'm still only on the first draft, which of course has its own charms. I just thought I'd stop work for a bit and sing my little ode to tutu-ing. Carry on.

1 comment:

Marianne said...

I love rewriting essays as well. Indeed I was enjoying rewriting my recent essay on Obsessive Compulsive Disorder so much that my housemate gently hinted that perhaps I was developing symptoms of the disorder itself. Got an A+ though and I'm convinced it was because I got the conclusion just so.