Tonight I finished writing a new chapter for the book, to fit into a three-year gap in the narrative I'd left to the imagination of the reader when I was trying to be clever. I've filled in those three years and it was, I must say, a job of work. I have been writing this chapter since last Monday, I think, and earlier this evening I worried that I'd never see the end of it. But I have, and I sit back with some satisfaction and declare it quite fine. I shake my fist at my protagonist and say, "I have finally got you!" For I do have him, at long last. I have his fears, his anger at fate, his love of family and his conflicted loyalties. He is now fully alive and the revisions to the rest of the book should come pretty easily after this. I may have to go back to the previous five chapters and add a bit here and there, but all in all I'm feeling pretty smug and full of myself.
I realize I've said this any number of times, but this revision is hard work, much harder than any of the writing I've done up till now, possibly including the first draft (though let's not get hasty). The book is growing longer at an alarming pace, too. I've cut about 3000 words out of it, mostly useless exposition and awkward phrasing, but the word count is nearly 11,000 words more than it was a month ago. Huh. I have no idea how long the book will be when I'm finished rewriting it. About 100,000 words, I'm guessing, which is much longer than I ever imagined it would be. I remember feeling lucky when I got the second draft up to 80,000 words, the minimum length for a work of literary fiction. The revision process continues to surprise me.
Despite the great flood of words spilling out of my gawcy pen, I still think I'm on track to finish the first round of this rewrite by the end of April, which gives me a week to collapse and sleep before I take a run at--I hope--a line edit in May before sending it off to Mr. Agent.
Most valuable lesson learned during rewrites: It doesn't matter if you don't feel like writing, it doesn't matter if you're not in the mood for it or you don't feel inspired. You can make yourself sit down and write when you need to write. The muse will find you if you commit yourself to the work no matter how tired or doubting you are, and the inspiration will come despite your reluctance to be inspired.