Posts Tagged ‘rewrite’
When I first became serious about writing I heard stories of people who spent huge amounts of time and effort to rewrite books from scratch. That never made sense to me. After all, you have already written something. Why would you want to write it again?
The stories usually had some commentary about how the writing went faster and was much better. I still couldn’t wrap my head around the whole thing.
Then, I went through the editorial process for Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero.
The whole back and forth of revision-comment-edit-comment-revise more was a real learning experience for me. There were cases in the process where I wrote brand new chapters and threw away the parts of the book they replaced. That was when the light bulb started to go off for me. There were cases where it was easier to rewrite than to edit. When the book ended on a slightly different note than the first iteration, I knew I would have to rethink the second book (which was already written).
So, when it came time to get working on the second book, I decided that, rather than edit it, I would start it over from scratch. I had already seen how much better some of my writing was for taking this approach in the first book and the second started in a slightly different way than it had originally.
I hunkered down and knocked off the first five or six chapters pretty quickly. I had, after all, already written the book once before.
The words came more easily and the story, while going in the same general direction, was better the second time around. In a matter of days (maybe ten), I had 13,000 words down.
As I was writing it the second time, I could more easily see the weaknesses of the original story. For example, when I wrote it, I did it as a NaNoWriMo novel. I wrote it very fast and it really only had a single plot line. I could see where things were slow in the story and how many of the events needed some extra depth.
So, I’ve come up with a secondary plot line that I think will compliment the first. It will add some of the fun back into the story that I felt it was lacking. It will serve to introduce elements of the main plot line in a better way.
That converted me to the whole rewrite concept.
I am now applying it to a short story I’ve written. The original concept was fun but it took me half the story to actually get to the point. In the version I’m writing now, I hit the ground running and I think the story is much stronger at the half-way point than the original was in total.
Do I think rewriting is always the answer? No, not at all. However, I do believe that I need to keep an open mind and be prepared to shelf portions of a story to make it better. Sometimes, all of the story.
What do you think? Have you ever chosen the path of rewrite versus edit? How did it turn out for you?