Rewriting Novels?

As you may or may not know, a while back (well, a long while back) I finished my novel, Revolution: Rise of Darkness. To recap, here’s how I summarized my novel:

A group of teenagers go on a school camping trip into the national park. They go off to the forest, and return to their camp simply to find everyone missing.  The mystified teenagers come out to town, finding the same thing going on.

It turns out that a radical revolutionary has staged a coup d’état and forced the whole country into communist settlements. Now, the teenagers are outlaws in a freedom-deprived country. They return to the national park, and with government soldiers patrolling the area and ready to capture them to send to the settlements at any moment, it will take all their intelligence, strength and willpower to survive.

(Image Source)

That sounds rather good, even if I say so myself. This makes it a wonder how I managed to write such a crappy novel.

Now, a lot of people would say that I’m ‘too hard on myself’, that ‘it’s actually pretty good’, but then there’s also going to be people who haven’t read it and will think ‘it could be okay’. Well, since I have all the chapters posted here, I invite you to check it out. You’d probably be blown away by how simple…how un-complex…how much it just sucks.

The thing I’m bothered about the most is the character. The main character (and also narrator) is a guy called John. I like John as a character. In fact, I like his opinion of the world and I really enjoy writing as him. But the thing is that he doesn’t really change. I try to show that he becomes more of a leader as time goes by, but I think I haven’t been that successful at doing that. And if I don’t feel successful, readers won’t.

Now looking at the theme. There’s no theme in the story. Well, of course you could use something like ‘determination’ as a theme, and ‘not giving up’…but I don’t really hit at the theme that often. I need to do more to emphasize it as a theme.

I do have a bit of comfort, though. There’s a quote from Ernest Hemingway that I really like, and while the language could perhaps be more appropriate, it is an excellent quote that I will paste in its original form:

The first draft of anything is shit. – Ernest Hemingway

This quote implies, however, that while the first draft of anything would be ‘shit’, this means we need to write second drafts and third drafts. This brings me to my point. Rise of Darkness is, right now, a horrible novel in need of a complete rewrite. This brings up a few questions for me:

  • I’m already working on a new novel, Shield of Fire. I’m thinking that the project may have to be aborted, because the fact that it requires so much research means that I find it really difficult to write and I may not be able to complete it. Still, would I abandon a new project for an old one?
  • Am I still as sure as when I started the novel that Revolution: Rise of Darkness has a good enough plot that will compensate for a rewrite?

I guess that I’ll know the answers by next week. Thanks for reading.


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  1. Realizing you need a rewrite is tough. It really sucks, sometimes, but that’s part of writing. Good luck on your newer project! Maybe you can come back to the other one later with more clarity.

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