Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Rewriting (a story whose ending may not please you)

One of the things that has been on my perpetual to-do list for months now is a requested rewrite on a short story. Normally revision requests get my attention right away when they come from people with money and an audience and an inclination to share both with me -- the last one was I think a three hour turnaround -- but this was a much broader and more general revision request. It was basically a request for a story kind of like the one I'd submitted, but longer and with larger scope and more attention to the things I already thought were the most interesting parts of the story.

So in that sense it was the best rewrite request ever: give us more of this (and we'll pay you more, because we pay by the word), and focus more on the things you like best! Also have it be for a story related to (but not dependent upon) two novels you've written!

But it has not been easy. Surprise: the good things in this business are not always the easiest things? How astonishing! And how unlike any other business, where everything worthwhile falls like rain!

One of the things that has happened since I wrote this story is that I got much better, more obscure source material. This is an historical fantasy, and while it's a tiny obscure little corner of history, one that's not likely to make most people say, "Wait, but wasn't there a fourth brother who wound up a photographer in England?", I'll know. Also, I think the new source material allows for an entirely new plot, one which is similar to the old plot but has some of the melodramatic aspects of it surgically removed. (This is just a side benefit. The fact that I'll know was going to be enough to make this part worth redoing.) And hey, the second brother, who wasn't a photographer in London: guess where he goes at the end, in actual recorded history?

Helsinki. No, really. It's not that I couldn't make this stuff up, because of course I could -- I do, all the time. It's just that I don't have to. People can look this bit up after they've finished reading this part of the story and say, "oh, huh, guess it wasn't just her obsessing on Finland again after all." He really was a Helsinki-dwelling student of stamps and their history. This should help the new plot a lot. I think I know how to do the whole rewrite now.

Yes, that's right: it's one of those rare times when philately will get me everywhere.

(Of course I couldn't resist, because the pun is quite literally true! And the flesh is weak, and the spirit is really not all that willing in the restraint-from-puns direction. Really, you wouldn't have resisted. I feel sure.)
Tags: magical finnish computers

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