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    I have a lot of stuff that I know I need to re-write before it will be any good. Sometimes it involves switching from typing to longhand, sometimes it’s swapping around a few plot points, sometimes it’s even changing the POV.

    I’m terrified of re-writing. Any tips?

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    Don’t look at your work for a month.

    Then come back and change it.

    Then look at this.


    Even if I haven’t even finished a first draft?

    It’s like, to keep going, I need to re-write everything.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    Well ideally you want to finish your first draft.


    So is it honestly worth finishing something even if I cut most of it?

    Then again, at least I HAVE finished something. And F. Scott Fitzgerald cut tons from The Great Gatsby.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    Of course.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    You could just continue as though you’ve already rewritten your plot, then rewrite it to make sense when you come to edit it later.


    Will work in some cases except for one where I’ve already written part of the middle and stuff first. I’m shuddering at a thirteen-thousand word rewrite. I might use Virgil’s method for that.

    I think I talked about it on IW if you-all want to head over there and talk about me.

    Thanks for the idea, though, Moldorm. I can use that on one of them.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009
    You have to kill your inner editor if you can't even finish a first draft. After the first draft is complete, though, feel free to resurrect your inner editor and tear your own work apart. Second opinions are also a really good idea.

    If you're writing a long piece (like an epic poem, novella, novel, really long short story, etc.) though, you can compromise with yourself a bit. Doing something along the lines of editing chapter by chapter after the first draft of each chapter is completed is something I do. Still, there comes a point where you just have to not edit/rewrite things because it is hindering your ability to write. From my own experience, editing or rewriting while you're frustrated usually results in pretty crappy work. In those cases, try and pinpoint what exactly about the writing is making you unhappy then make notes of what you originally wanted it to be like before moving on to a different part/project. If you come up with better ideas for the troublesome section, take note of those as well.

    Basically, fixating on perfection is more harmful than helpful when it comes to writing. The purpose of writing is to share experiences, after all, and not the achievement of absolute literary faultlessness (though if you can manage both, kudos to you). Just remember that everything has a learning curve, and that you'll rarely be able to do anything perfectly every single time. Because each piece of writing you craft is individual and unique, it will have its own sets of challenges that are unique to it, generalized problems aside, which you can overcome with revision and editing.

    I hope that was coherent. x_X
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009
    "Will work in some cases except for one where I’ve already written part of the middle and stuff first. I’m shuddering at a thirteen-thousand word rewrite."

    Do you have to completely throw out everything? Try and salvage as much as possible and save the original; you might be able to use it basically as-is in a future project.

    Kyllorac, you must be new, but I love you already. hugs

    Wow....*notworthys to Kyllorac*

    All I was going to say is save the stuff you rip out, you may use it later.

    hugs RTT for old-time’s sake

    Why thank you!
    *hugs back for new-time's sake*

    hugs back for…

    actually, let’s not get carried away. let’s try to stay on topic for once.

    Can't. Quite. Do. It.

    I currently am Rewriting as I'm going just because I have a feeling it will be too overwhelming for me to do the whole thing once I'm done. And it feels good to root out some of the horrific stuff I wrote last year.

    I’ll have to think of that.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    I hope that was coherent. x_X

    Of course it was. I don’t think I’ve seen you around before, so welcome to the forums!

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009 edited
    I feel so loved already. :'D

    We have that effect. You just ran smack into the site bimbo and one of her many beaux.

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    You said…but I…you…
    I feel a single shining manly tear coming on.


    I thought you threw away the seduction guide.

    The bimbo is not impressed

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009

    You underestimate yourself. A bimbo wouldn’t have noticed such a subtle and easily-overlooked detail.


    Kyllorac you are awesome at giving advice so far, you should probably write some articles. Hugs

    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2009
    I plan to. After I finish a couple of my other projects, first, that is. >.>

    Rewriting is hard. I never wrote second drafts for anything in school, except for CW class finals where it was required. What I’m doing now is trying to avoid forcing in sensory details or pretty language except when they strike me or they’re totally necessary, and focusing on dialogue and character actions just so I can see if those work.

    Theoretically, once I’m done with the first draft, I can go back to the start and add the things that were more or less omitted, while at the same time smoothing out and paring down the stuff I already had. I’m just worried the stuff I left out is going to inflate it too much, since its already at 65k words after 17/~30 chapters.

    All that stuff Kyllorac said was great.


    I’ve been thinking alot about rewriting…my first draft isn’t done yet, but I want to have it finished by the time November is over…and then on to the great frontier of editing.

    Yes, I am terrified too. Half the stuff I’m probably going to have to take out and change and I hate doing that.

    Question: how do you maintain continuity with all these changes that you make?

    @SWQ: That's why I'm editing as I go, so that I can smooth out continuity by looking at it multiple times. Also, you could probably note the changes you are making if you have a general outline or story flow line. My current 1st draft has really horrid formatting and therefore, I'm using all sorts of symbols and breaks to show where I'm taking things out and when I'm jumping around. It's really quite cringe-worthy at the moment, but I feel that it is best to start hacking large chunks out and making places obvious. I'm kind of starting to write future a few pages and then go back and brainstorm how to fill in one of my gaps that I didn't like and took out. As I have a short attention span, I do not think it would work that well for me to go through, write, write write...then edit edit edit. I started editing when I had massive writer's block but didn't want to leave my world behind. It is probably messier than it should be, but I think it will work out in the end *crosses fingers*
    Hope that was mildly decipherable. *blinks* Actually, kudos to you if you got anything out of that.... *facepalm*

    oh, and take comfort, Steph. My separate "Cuttings" document has 21,000 words. My current draft stands at around 45,000 words. So, I've basically cut 1/3 of my work out and have it lying in a little basket labeled: For use to be determined as per future. See also: "blither" and "shrug."

    Question: how do you maintain continuity with all these changes that you make?

    I’m gonna do like RTT said and make a cut document, and any major alterations I make to the first draft are going to be in other colors, I think. Beyond that, I guess you just have to pay attention and reread often.


    I love you all so much I think. Thanks for a) staying on topic, and b) giving such great advice.


    Yeah, I love II- fun people who actually give good advice.

    @sansafro: I like the color coding idea…and maybe I could read through my draft, make a master plot chart, and then track any changes that I make as I go along, so I know what I’ve been doing.


    I could read through my draft, make a master plot chart, and then track any changes that I make as I go along, so I know what I’ve been doing.

    That seems like a good idea. It seems like the more documentation the better when it comes to editing. Speaking for myself at least, there are some things I came up with out of nowhere in later chapters that should have logically been introduced in earlier chapters, and if I’d had any sense I would’ve made note of them. Hopefully I can remember them all :x


    Yeah, I don’t really want to be rummaging through my document, seeing what I wrote in this spot, especially if I end up with a long manuscript.


    Yeah. I already know I’m going to go back and manually edit names that I changed from chapter to chapter :/ If I’d just written them down I could do a find+replace at the end, but noooo.


    Phillip Pullman does a draft, then posts all major scenes on post-its on a big wall so he could rearrange them. So did Mignon Fogerty (Grammar Girl).


    Yep, sounds like a good way to organize.


    I tried it once, but I went too detailed and I hadn’t even finished the story yet. Stupid me.