Rethinking the rewrite

I received the nicest rewrite request from an editor of an upcoming anthology yesterday. In thoughtful and complimentary words, he accurately pegged exactly what I’d felt were the highlights and failures of the story I’d submitted. AND he specifically said that he’d like to read any future work I might have. I’m a bit thrilled. It’s not often that editors send out rewrite requests (from what I’ve read on writers forums and discussion groups).

Now, of course, comes the point where I need to buckle down and add some catchy and gripping plot elements to an otherwise mostly-atmospheric story. The framework is there. The story lends itself to embellishment and structure well. I just need to make up my mind about…well…what it’s really about. And get it down on paper. And edit it. And resubmit. All by a mid-August due date. I’ve written about my hesitance to rewrite before, but really, it’s all about having the right motivation. And a little positive feedback can do wonders for a writer in a dry spell.

I wrote this particular story two years ago at the Outer Banks, sitting on a chair facing the water for a few hours one hazy afternoon, watching my guys building sand castles and body surfing. There’s nothing quite like the overwhelming sensory overload of the beach to crystalize a little creative inspiration. The wind buffeting, the surf pounding, the sand blasting, the sun baking. They drive all those mundane, pointless thoughts from your head about whether you remembered to turn off the water to the slip and slide in the backyard almost 300 miles away, or if the vacuum will wake up the kid during nap time, and reduces you to a simple existence of frolicking, resting and hydrating. I can practically taste the old bay seasoning underneath my fingernails as I crack a crab claw larger than my son’s fist, the first sip of crisp cold beer in the shade, and warm dark chocolate fudge, folded meticulously on cold marble slabs heavier than my car.

Can you tell I’m in beach mode? OBX, I’ve missed you. We’re headed back down on Friday for a few days. We haven’t ever been mid-summer, preferring to go in early September when the crowds thin and the beaches are wide, beautiful and empty. Cross your fingers for us that the traffic won’t be too miserable.

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