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Rewrite, or extreme makeover?

Just a few revisions for marketability.
A friend near Seattle is letting me crash at his place next week. (Thanks Kyle). And aside from spending Sunday trying to run down a scalper for tickets to the Seahawks’ game, I’ll be rewriting my first draft the whole time.

The question is, will it be an edit, or complete overhaul? I’ve tried not to think about it since I tucked it away last month. But my hunch is that it will be more open-heart surgery than wart removal.

So, for those who’ve plowed this field before, what do you end up doing? Is your draft so tight that you only need to give it a spit-shine? Or are you throwing out huge chunks wholesale and changing the fate and focus of major characters? 


James Frey's career––now in rehab.

James Frey (r) and his agent humbly accept their awards from Oprah's Book Club
Okay, everyone's poking sharp sticks into the belly of James Frey, and his hard-hitting memoir, A Million Little Pieces, which now appears to be a hard-hitting piece of fiction. Or as Frey sort of puts it, "100% factual, except for the parts I made up, and if you don't like it I'm going to take my millions and sue you." Fair enough.

But this got me thinking. Does anyone else remember Fargo? The Oscar-winning movie that opened with "This is a true story. The events depicted in this film took place in Minnesota in 1987. At the request of the survivors, the names have been changed. Out of respect for the dead, the rest has been told exactly as it occurred." And was any of it true? Heck no. Did anyone care? Not really. A few fans and critics saw through the ruse, and when the Cohen Brothers were asked about it they wryly said "the events took place but all the people are made up." Good enough for me.

Can we ever forgive this guy? I mean, c'mon. "Blame it on the Rain" was an awesome song. 


Beyonre genre.

postercopy.jpgMy buddy Andrew Tyer wrote a humorous white-trash crime novel. And while he’s not yet published, his adventures in rejection have been enlightening. (Thanks Andy.) His book was well settled in the crime genre, with some good ol' Southern cooking added. So now that I’m trying to rewrite Surefire to get it ready for the firing squad, Andy’s words of counsel to me were "make sure you’re sending it to the right agents that represent your genre".

Which of course begs the question, what the heck is my genre? And is it okay to mix genres completely?

I’ll be honest, I don’t have one. So, riddle me this Batman. Am I hurting my marketability by not writing in a specific genre? With the success of "in-between" books like The Dogs of Babel and Sideways, I tend to think the answer is no. But what about finding an agent? If my work isn’t obviously an ADVENTURE, MYSTERY or URBAN FANTASY, is it DOA?


Of all the Hasidic reggae rappers, this guy is my fav.

382x174.jpgSeriously, if you haven't heard of Matisyahu, step away from the writing blog and catch him on David Letterman next week. His music is an incredible combination of Bob Marley and Shlomo Carlebach. Still, as much as I love this guy, I can't stop thinking of The Jazz Singer. (The one with "I'll smack you in the mouth, I'm Neil Diamond!"). And the way this guy is blowing up, there must be a Laurence Olivier character back home tearing his shirt and rolling in ash and sackcloth.
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