Halfway Home: The Banner of the King - Travis Senzaki

Halfway Home: The Banner of the King

According to the Writing Progress Tracker, I ticked over the halfway point for my target word length for The Banner of the King. Time to party! Or not, since this project is going to go over target just like the original. It’s ok, I’m overwriting by design, so the edits will have the effect of a chainsaw rather than a chisel. In any case, seeing my work back in six digits has given me cause to pause and reflect on my choice to rewrite this novel from scratch rather than edit the original version.


Did I make the right call? I think so. My first time through, I didn’t figure out where my characters were going until I was well over half-way through. In a couple cases, I didn’t even figure out how to spell their names until partway through. One POV character got demoted a few chapters into the book only to be restored at the end when I realized I needed him again… and realized that I’d always intended him to have a plot arc anyway. On top of that, my style was inconsistent and I treated whole chapters like writing exercises.

Could I have edited that? Sure. It would have given me loads of practice. But I would have ended up essentially rewriting the thing anyway. This time, I have a product that I think I can work with. I’m happy with the result, though it will still need a ton of editing, but the process has been a bit trying at times.

For starters, I rewrote my outline based on significant events in each character’s plot line. I started writing scenes for each of these events, but realized late that many of them could happen off-camera, as it were. I’m still learning with this draft (and that’s kind of the point). The transition from scene list to outline is still a work in progress, as I realized to my shock earlier this week when in the middle of a writing session, I ran out of outlined scenes. I’m also rewriting each scene, regardless of whether it existed in the original or not. I think my technique is a lot better on this pass- as it ought to be with an extra 200 thousand words of writing experience.

Pros

  • More Experience: better writing
  • Better understanding of where the story is going and what elements need to be planted in advance
  • Avoidance of “Wow my writing was that bad?” embarrassment- for now
  • I feel like I’m “writing” rather than “editing” which keeps my motivation high
  • Didn’t have to rewrite the script for the Writing Progress Tracker to accommodate editing- yet

Cons

  • Retreading the same ground makes me feel like I’m not progressing
  • My other story ideas stay on the back burner a lot longer
  • I’m still going to have to edit eventually and I’m not learning how by rewriting
  • Editing would probably teach me things about my writing that would save effort later
  • Have never heard any writer talk about rewriting a book from scratch as a productive activity

Conclusion

It’s impossible to give a final conclusion until I’ve compared this to the alternative, but I think I like the path I’ve chosen. I will edit this eventually, so I’ll get that experience (there’s no way I’m pulling the rewrite thing again, at least not on this book). I get more experience, which is always a good thing. And in the end, I’m not keeping any fans waiting at this point and I’m not in a rush to hit the market; I’d rather do it well than fast.

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