I think almost all novelists rewrite a huge lot, particularly if the story is a deep one or has many parts that have to come together. It takes a time to figure out what the story is, and that comes as you write, and then you have say 350 printed pages to tell it and it has to tell so many things. I knew I wanted to write about Claude, Frederic and Camille in CLAUDE & CAMILLE, but it has to be a rising plot line, which is difficult if someone is not on a quest or solving a murder. So in the end you are taking out a line here and moving it there, or a big character becomes someone with two paragraphs. It’s to serve the story. The details are crucial. And you don’t know what the flow of the story is until almost the end. I was able to escape a lot of this when I wrote MARRYING MOZART because I knew the ending and the theme and I had the rhythm of it before me....it was a little of a Mozart opera with a dash of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE which I admire endlessly. But you want to write so many things, so many ways!
Writing historical fiction: sometime journal of a New York City novelist
October 18, 2009