I am very pleased to report that I have started my rewrite. A focused weekend away at the island was exactly what I needed to get back into it. It was slow going, but worth it. And I didn't mind that it was slow, because I enjoyed playing with the words. I'd love for this draft to be close to final, so some extra care is permitted.
The opening scene is a new one. I wonder how many opening scenes I have written in this novel's lifetime? If you count the various incarnations, most of which bear no resemblance to the current story, I would estimate ten at least. Maybe more. The latest is probably the fourth re-visioned opening scene for the current story, if you count this as the third draft. Which it is, really.
I have kept the second scene from the previous draft. Aside from some minor changes to tighten it up, it's pretty much as it was. Most of my readers have said this scene works pretty well. However, I have a feeling it'll be one of the few in the first section of the novel that makes it through unscathed. I have planned so many tweaks to the start, because the start is everything in a novel. But it means I'll be doing a lot of rewriting, at least in the near future!
The four-day weekend proved a perfect amount of time. We both got a great amount of writing done, but also kept it balanced with some long walks and plenty of 'novel talk'. We set up our laptops on the dining table and they stayed there for four days, perpetually in our faces, tantalisingly close. Chenna kept us company as well :-)
Going away with another writer -- with the express purpose of writing -- must be one of the best ways to write. Normally such a solitary experience (which is good for concentration), writing becomes companionable in this environment. I know that it helped me to be more disciplined. Even better, we were able to discuss aspects of what we were writing as we went along. This ranged from word choice, all the way to character and plot development. We were in the fortunate position of being familiar with each other's characters and basic storyline, meaning we could brainstorm aspects of these if we felt like it. Most of our walks featured such discussions!
This was my second writing retreat with company and both have been a huge success. This makes me more determined to make them a regular occurrence! I have been down to the island a few times on my own to write, but it's just not the same. It's now a matter of finding those of my writing friends with the time and inclination to come with me!