Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Edit vs Rewrite

A quick note to let you know that the price of my ebook, Magic High has dropped to $0.99 on Amazon and Smashwords. Other distributors should catch up with the price change soon.

When I finished my first draft of my latest novel, I sat back and thought, ‘Great! Done. Nothing left but edits.’

*Cue laughter*

I edited a few chapters, made minor changes in sentence structure, fixed plot holes, checked for consistency, and all that fun stuff that needs to be done before the book can be called complete. And then a couple of people in my critique group mentioned that my main character was very similar to Tabetha from Magic High.


Then I realized, it’s impossible to change the personality of the main character in any way without completely changing the entire story. After all, the novel is written in first point perspective. I may as well have decided to write the story from a completely different characters point of view.

After a lot of groaning and whining and arguments with myself, I finally accepted the fact that the book will be better after a full rewrite. And after all, the whole point of editing is to make the story as awesome as possible, right?

There is always the fear that rewrites will never end. All I have to do is look at my comic, Never to see rewrites gone wrong. However, I'm confident that this draft is much stronger than my first, and I’m hopeful that once it’s complete, I’ll be able to move on to final edits and then copy edits.

*Fingers crossed*

Rewriting complete drafts is a part of my writing process, but I know that not every author believes it’s necessary. How much editing do you do? Have you ever rewritten so many times that you lost interest in the story altogether?

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to actually lose interest in a project due to rewrites. I've lost interest in lots of projects that simply turned out to be bad ideas. However, all too often projects do get shelved, and tend to gather a fair bit of dust before they get dragged back out into the light.

    Personally I tend try and write at least 1/8-1/4 of my goal content before going back to edit/rework the initial drafts. Basically enough of the project to give it a solid direction and work out the majority of character actions throughout. (Most of the time I let my story be driven more by the characters, and less on a solidly predefined plot. I let the coarse details of the plot influence character development, but past character development shapes future plot.)

    After the foundation gets shaped into something I am happy with, I generally shelve the project for at least a month or more. I've tried forcing myself to do a full draft write in the past, but it never works for me, and quality really drops out.

    After I have left the story rest for awhile, I tend to go back and rewrite most of the existing parts before doing close readings on my existing text. I'll use core notes and details from the past draft, edit the new content for general issues, and then compare it and the original. Whichever I'm happier with is the one that gets picked up and expanded.

    So far it has caused my main project to splinter into a high fantasy novel, and a low fantasy novel, simply because after years of trying to find the happy medium that I liked, I found that it was easier to just split them and do two works. The high fantasy novel then further evolved and drifted away from its origins, and is now at risk of splitting again to better explore two different ideas.

    Project Darkgate has been rewritten/restarted at least a dozen times or more in the decade. The early drafts were just bad, so they really don't count.

    In my mind writing is something to do because I enjoy it, and that I should never spend time working on a project that I'm not happy with. If it means starting something over from the beginning to try and get something better, or even just different, then so be it. I would rather work on a project that I find beautiful from beginning to end instead of trying to find a way to polish out huge ugly points that I hate, but are critical to the general story.