I'm rewriting my novel. Well, technically I’ve been rewriting it for about as long as I’ve been writing it, but this is different. The other day I dusted off the flash drive where I stored the entire reeking mess 18 months ago, and now I am going through it with a bad attitude and a hostile eye.
Rewriting is different than writing. The writer is a naive and sentimental fellow, a man fond of adverbs and nonjudgmental about cliches. He is like Alan Alda. He is willing to see where the story leads, willing to let his characters discuss their childhoods and consider other points of view. The rewriter is a total jerk, who attacks non-essential characters with a machete and would enjoy nothing more than punching the writer in the face.
Look at it this way: Because of the writer, the rewriter is stuck with the unenviable task of hand-screening a truckload of shit for an ounce of gold. Maybe there’s not even any gold in there. You’d be hostile too.