I did not want to be here. Two-and-a-half weeks from a major deadline, and I'm staring down the barrel of a page one rewrite? Seriously? What did I do to deserve this? Well, I chose to be a writer, and that's sometimes what happens.
First of all, for those of you blessed with jobs outside of the written word, allow me to explain.
Rewrites are a part of the job. Many a smart and sexy writer has said that the real art of storytelling is done in the rewrite. In fact, some of the best bits of dialogue, best action scenes, and best character moments come from rewrites. Editing and molding your creation is more than just an effort in playing at grammar Nazi.
But a Page One Rewrite? That's something else entirely. And, if I'm being honest, that's not where I'm at. In truth, I'm facing a Page Two, or even a Page Three rewrite. It's not as bad--nor is it a real thing--but it will be quite painful. At the very least, it gives me a chance to talk about this oft-feared subject.
Sometimes you come up with an idea that is just the business. Your characters pop, your through lines sizzle, and the world building is the stuff of legends. You've got a hit in the making on your hands. Other times, you vomit out pages of garbage and don't realize that until you're watching your friend read it during lunch, and you can literally see the hate building inside them.
At that moment, you have to admit that there is a fundamental flaw in your story. This isn't an instance of polishing a turd. This is you trying to sell a box of air to a school of fish, but you forgot the box at home and are actually pitching to a shark.
Okay, it's more like your story is garbage and everything is garbage and you should just be a plumber for crying out loud did you know your mother tells everyone you sell vaccums door to door?
Okay, too far.
Page One means you're back at the beginning. It means you get a chance to redefine everything about your story. Does that mean you're completely up Schitt's Creek? Of course not. Your Zombie-Lawyer Drama doesn't have to change entirely, but now it might be better not to set it in space. Rewrites allow you to course correct. Sometimes you write yourself into a corner with an outlandish premise, or unrealistic character choices, or setting your entire series on an island that is actually purgatory. Rewrites allow you to start off on the right foot.
Now, are rewrites just the worst? Yes. Yes a million times. But are they absolutely necessary? Again, yes. You cannot hit a home run on your first draft. Sorkin can't write a perfect first draft, and Sorkin can write you under the table, bub.
So here I am, staring at that blinking cursor, hating every moment of my life and every choice that led me to this place. And you know what?
I wouldn't have it any other way.