Jan 02 2011

My Take on Rewrites

Published by at 6:26 pm under Book Review,Superhero Nation

1.  Unless your plot has changed dramatically, I’d rather not review a rewritten chapter, especially before the manuscript’s first draft is completed.  Generally, it’s a lot more productive for an author to keep moving forward.  I’d love to review your next chapter!


2.  Unless you’re really, really stuck, I’d recommend holding off on any heavy rewriting before the manuscript’s first draft is complete.  You’ll have a much better idea of where the story is going once you have the first draft done and that will make your rewrites vastly more effective.  It will be much easier to organize the story and determine what is worth keeping or accentuating or removing after the first draft is complete.  Before that, trying to do a rewrite is like drawing up a map to somewhere you haven’t been yet.


3.  In most of the cases where I’ve reviewed early rewrites, the authors got demoralized because things weren’t improving as much as they had hoped.  But it wasn’t their fault or a reflection on their talent.  Before the first draft is completed, everything will suck, regardless of your talent level or how many times you rewrite a chapter.  The only way to break out of “first draft hell” is to finish the first draft.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “My Take on Rewrites”

  1. Crystalon 20 Apr 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I wish that I’d read this sooner! I changed a few things in my second draft of Chapter 1, posted it, and then realized that I’d rather make some better changes. So I completely re-wrote Chapter 1 and posted it as my THIRD draft (which is way different) and then went and saw this article.

  2. B. Macon 20 Apr 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I’ll offer a few ideas about the rewrite, but it’s generally better to keep moving forward. Onwards to victory. 🙂

  3. Crystalon 19 May 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I’m probably going to do another rewrite of Chapter 1 after I finish my first draft. I’ve been looking through my story (now on Chapter 6) and I just realized that Chapter 1 really isn’t fitting the mood of my story too well.
    Oh well, at least I have plenty of time to think about my revisions…

  4. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 19 May 2011 at 7:42 pm

    I really struggle with first drafts – I’ve never finished one. But I’m trying my hardest on my latest idea, which I don’t intend to publish. I’m writing it to push myself into writing scenes I usually struggle with. The fact that two of my friends are apparently dying to read it helps keep me motivated. XD So I’m trying my best to get my first draft done, edited, and perfected, so they can read it.

    We’re all tropers so I’m kinda pandering to them by using lots of tropes and then subverting or deconstructing them. I’ve just started chapter fourteen.

    A lot of my lines are really crappy, but they just give the gist of the scene so I can go back and extend them later. My chapters average about 2500 words, I hope to stretch that to 3000 by the time I’m done.

  5. Wingson 20 May 2011 at 10:06 am

    With luck, the literary magazine project starting next week at school will create a writing nakama who shall stick by each other…There is nothing better than writing with friends.

    – Wings

  6. Crystalon 20 May 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Yeah…I’ve only ever finished two rough drafts, and only one of them got revised (on the bright side, the one that I revised placed in the local Reflections contest).
    Question: Should chapters really be 3000 words? Mine are usually only about 1000.
    Wings, you are totally right! I joined a writing group this year, and it was awesome. At first, I was really scared that my pieces wouldn’t be good enough, but by the end…Well, let’s just say that I have a whole bunch of new friends and my writing has improved greatly!

  7. B. Macon 20 May 2011 at 5:30 pm

    “Question: Should chapters really be 3000 words? Mine are usually only about 1000.” I don’t think that would be a problem. Theoretically, I suppose it might be bothersome if the chapters were so short that the author was interrupting the flow of scenes with chapter breaks, but that’d be pretty easy to fix.

    If I had an issue with chapter length (and I rarely do), it’d probably be that the chapters are 10,000+ word behemoths. Likewise, it’s a very simple issue to address.

  8. Crystalon 13 Jul 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I’m trying to follow these rules…It’s just that…Well, I aimed to post Chapter 5 about 2 weeks ago. Before I sent it in, I did a quick once-through, y’know, just looking for mistakes.
    So, as I was looking through this,I realize, I could do a lot better than this.
    I just basically rewrote the whole chapter. Now I’m just finishing the last few sentences, and I’ll be done!

    (Trust me, though. This chapter badly needed revising. I mean, it was painful to read it.)

  9. Grenacon 13 Jul 2011 at 4:52 pm

    This information pleases me greatly. I really need to plow through the rough draft before re-writing :B

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