For those of you who are new to my blog, every Wednesday except for the first one every month, I take a key-word or phrase that have drawn or will draw readers and then I write about it.
This week’s phrase is: “What the goal of rewriting a novel.”
|See here for credit and awesome post on Revisions vs. Rewrites|
My guess is that everyone has a different reason for rewriting a novel, but in general, rewriting is mainly done to correct problems that are so big and so pervasive that it’s easier to write the novel again than to simply revise it.
Because trust me, most writers will revise and revise until they can’t any more before they rewrite.
Most writers whose blogs I’ve read keep rewriting as a last resort when they absolutely can’t fix the story in any other way. And even then, rewriting will usually happen after a long period of putting the ms on the back-burner.
On the other hand, I think of rewriting as just another tool in my arsenal, along with revisions and edits.
Where edits are to fix small errors, revisions are for fixing big issues. Rewriting fixes errors, plot holes and other problems that are even bigger.
And I find it incredibly useful. So useful, in fact, that I don’t write a single book that I don’t rewrite before I revise. It’s something that I would recommend to any pantser, because rewriting shaves out all those orphan scenes where we got distracted. It cuts out or ties up loose strings.
Basically it pretty much uniformly improves the quality of your manuscript before you start sanding it down and polishing it. Where revision fixes things part by part or aspect by aspect (I.E. by focusing on characterization or conflict), rewrites is a good way to improve everything throughout the entire draft.
BUT. If you want to use rewriting as part of the editing process, it’s important to take some time to think about your story. Give your draft a rest so that you can get some distance from it and then reread it. Think about everything that needs to be smoothed, added or removed. Then you’ll need to have some sort of a plan before you rewrite. Yes pantsers, I know this sounds insane, but if you don’t plan before rewriting, you’ll just be writing a slightly altered rough draft of your original story. That won’t help you, since the point is to come out with a more polished version of the same story you wrote.
You definitely want to recognise your WiP when you reread your rewritten draft.
In summery, rewriting can potentially have two main goals: To completely change the story you’ve written from start to finish, or to improve the quality of your ms as consistently as possible.
How do you use rewrites? Do you hate rewriting?