rewriting and writing again (and bloomsday)

1) June 16, 1904, is the day the novel Ulysses, by James Joyce, takes place, so June 16 is celebrated as Bloomsday. Ulysses was published in 1922, making this year the hundredth anniversary of the book. When I realized this, I decided to post a blog post linking to the various posts I’ve written over the years about Ulysses and Bloomsday.

However, careful research revealed that there really aren’t any. A few posts say things like, “Hey, it’s Bloomsday! Everybody should celebrate!” — but there’s no point in linking back to those.

Oh, well. As much as I enjoy Ulysses (perhaps I’ll read it again this year, in honor of the anniversary…), it’s not likely I’d have much new and significant to say about it. Quite a few people have written about it already, after all.

2) Again on the subject of “how to write good,” I remember a lot of blog posts (back in the days of blog posts) about the importance of editing. Do whatever you need to do to generate some sort of first draft, then the real work begins: editing, editing, and more editing.

Sometimes, yes, of course. But it is also possible that your attempts to beat every page, paragraph, and sentence into submission will pound all the life out of the whole thing until you just have a series of perfectly formed sentences. Now, I’m really into perfectly formed sentences, but there are times (as with part nine of my current story, which took quite a while to get posted) that more and more editing is not the answer.

In those cases, I’ve found it best to put the draft (and all of its edits and versions) away, get out a fresh piece of paper and a pen, re-read the previous part to remember who’s in the scene and what they know (and don’t know) and what they’re trying to do, and set them off, writing down whatever happens. That’s what I finally did with part nine, and it got me about 90% of the way to the final version, which is farther than I got with all the cutting and pasting and cutting and pasting.

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