The Rewrite

Yes. I am back to rewriting my first novel, still or again. I had a story to tell many years ago and I am still determined to tell it. Back then it was simple and clear. In the intervening years I tried to turn it into something that would be popular and commercially viable. It became a romance and a mystery and a whole lot of other things all at the same time. It became cumbersome and unwieldy. It became oh-so-clever and brilliant and wordy and intellectual and convoluted.

Now I am scraping away the extra stuff that has grown on it like moss on a stone stuck in the muck in my garden. I am doing what is known as a final edit! Hah! One of many. I am taking blocks of it and shoving them here or there or simply deleting them. don’t worry when you do this! Your brilliant writing is still there in an older draft for you to read and enjoy someday. It’s not gone. It’s just not part of this story that you are striving to tell.

I have had to sit with myself and remember what it was that I was trying to say. It had something to do with unrequited love, as many of my stories do. It was direct and good and honest once upon a time. It had a voice.

But in the intervening years I got sidetracked by all of the information that was out there about what I should be writing about…

Anyway, none of us are special enough that we get out of taking a good hard look at what we are writing and being brutally honest. I didn’t say being brutal. I said being brutally honest. We have to be kind to ourselves as writers. It is a practice, like you practice the violin, get it?

And furthermore you, yes you, do have something to say. You’ll figure it out. Stay the course. Be gentle. Write. Write while you are in your garden or looking out the window or nodding off. Then you’ll have something to edit!

Published by Andrew Binks

I am a writer living in rural Ontario, 2 hours east of Toronto. I was born and raised in Ottawa but spent the last 15 years in BC. Glad to be back. My first novel, The Summer Between, was published in 2009 by Nightwood Editions. My website is My fiction and non-fiction have been published in Joyland, Galleon, Fugue, Prism International, Harrington Gay Men's Literary Quarterly (U.S.), Bent-magazine, The Globe and Mail, and Xtra, among others. I am a past honorable mention of the Writer's Union of Canada's short prose contest, Glimmertrain’s Family Matters contest, finalist in the Queen's University Alumni Review poetry contest, and This Magazine’s “Great Canadian Literary Hunt.” My poetry has also appeared in Quill's “Lust” issue and Velvet Avalanche Anthology. Harvard Square Editions will be publishing a chapter from one of my novels in their upcoming anthology "A Voice from the Planet," this fall. My satirical play, Reconciliation, about Native land claims, Japanese internment, and political corruption, was read this spring in Toronto as part of the Foundry play-reading series. My play Pink Blood received a public reading, from Screaming Weenie Productions in Vancouver this June. I spoke at the AWP conference in New York City in 2008 on the merits and challenges of multi-genre writing programs.

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