On Changing Voices and Rewriting


I’m rewriting a book and the tone is maturing since the first draft.  A few weeks ago I dreamed of an adolescent boy-man whose voice was changing.  He spoke in a clear, smooth, soft tone and then his voice would crack and he’d cringe with embarrassment at the screech.  This is how I feel now as I work through the rewriting process.  Sometimes the words come out eloquent and flowing like a symphony and sometimes they sound like childish ramblings.  It’s part of the process.


Other scenes appear in my dreams that relate to the rewrite.  I love drafting.  Words flow out on the page in interrupted joy and I feel charged with energy.  But rewriting sometimes seems like pulling teeth.  I feel frustrated with the process.  In a dream I see how important the process becomes.  I’m sitting at a table and someone hands me a salt grinder.  I twist it and large indigestible chunks of salt fall on my plate.  When I open the top of the grinder, I pull out a knife and spoon and a pen.  To make it edible, I  put the chunks of salt  back in to run them through again.  The pen signaled that the dream related to writing.  The utensils represented nourishment.  The first huge chunks of salt symbolized the first draft of the book.  Putting the salt back into the grinder is a good symbol for rewriting.  The rewrite is a refining process.


Dreams can give good instruction.  In another one, I’m with a writer friend.  She is tough, perseverant and very determined.  I feel tired and want to take a break, but when I go to the threshold of the studio, a child calls out to me.  She has a writing assignment and needs help to get out the words.  She’s new at this, still an infant.  I really wanted to take a break, but stop and help her.  We work together and by asking her questions, I draw the words from her one at a time.  The dream reflected my urge to take a break from the rewrite and it encouraged me to keep working with the creative child to draw out the gems.  It’s hard work and requires effort.  But without the rewrite, the writing will not be digestible for a reader.  


copyright: Debra Moffitt-Leslie, May 2009 www.debramoffitt.com


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