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Young Writers Society
Sat Dec 24, 2011 7:17 pm
Recently I decided to revisit a novel I wrote a couple of years ago. I realized as I was writing it that later chapters were turning out "perfect" while the earlier chapters were lacking. So I decided to revisit and rewrite everything, chapter by chapter. However, I've only ever edited, never rewritten.
How do I do it? I started a whole new document last night, and referenced the old one for what I liked and what I wanted to change. Is what I'm doing an okay way, or do I need to completely scrap and start the whole thing over?
Sat Dec 24, 2011 11:40 pm
Depends on the amount of work involved.
I've done a lot of rewriting (from scratch, from preexisting, and editing) and it really depends on the story. The questions I ask myself:
Do I like the plot?
Are there any major plot holes?
Do the characters act right?
Is the pace good?
Do my scenes need anything more added to them? How about my transitions?
Those are some basic questions that help me determine the amount of rewriting involved. If I like the plot but there are major holes, then I'll try to plug them with as few changes as possible. If the holes make me not like the plot anymore, then I replot.
If the characters aren't behaving in ways that make sense, I look at their root motive and reactions and see if they need changing, or if I simply lost how they reacted in the writing process and they're still behaving the way they should. Or, if I like a particular offshoot of their character and not so much the rest, I'll rework the story taking that style of reaction into account.
Scenes are a good way of just testing how much information is in the story and its pace. I'm one for longer scenes that bleed into each other, so there isn't much room between them. Others jump around, and sometimes need to add more in.
Really, there is no "right" way to rewrite. It's just a case of keeping what you like, scrapping and redoing what you don't.
A writer is a world trapped in a person— Victor Hugo
Ink is blood. Paper is bandages. The wounded press books to their heart to know they're not alone.
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Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:58 pm
I'd certainly go through the original document and find all the areas you think need rewriting. Writing some notes down about each chapter should help you figure out what exactly you're trying to do with the chapter at hand as you're rewriting. Sometimes, only certain scenes or chapters need a full rewrite, not just the whole novel!
I actually hate rewriting complete projects. I try to manage with what I can. Of course, I'm also one to plan out the whole novel and have an outline and just generally prepare myself before writing the first draft in the first place. Deleting and rewriting scenes is okay with me 'cause that tells me I'm making it better. Rewriting entire projects is like starting from scratch and not making any progress. If I rewrite, it usually means there's no potential at all and there's nothing to save.
In your case, it sounds like you're just rewriting certain chapters and then plugging in the manageable ones. I'd definitely stick with that so that you're focused on actually improving what you have. Your plan should work out, especially if you've already highlighted or noted in the original document what to look out for as you rewrite. I think the extra notes will definitely help you out or else you'll find yourself just writing another new novel. It could go in directions you weren't expecting if you're not careful!
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Forever is composed of nows.
— Emily Dickenson
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