1. Subject1157
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    Subject1157 New Member

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    Rewriting & Revisions (for the best?)

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Subject1157, May 23, 2012.

    For along while I've wanted to create my own sort of scifi/supernatura/adventure series and that's where my focus as been. I did some research in the past seven years, but when I compare it to what I know now, it was very poor. I went through dozens of ideas for a generalized storyline and theme, but nothing seemed to really stick. Most of them became boring, lots of exposition, more telling then showing. In the last two years I came up with a storyline I really liked and have outlined 9+ novels. I had just finished editing book 1 and was halfway through book 2 when I came across some new vital information.

    I didn't know much about POV's, nor the subcategories: limited and omniscient. I also noticed during one of my recent read-through (i had put it away for several months) that it felt more like a movie script. I had constant actions and reactions between dialogue(example: she shrugged, turned left, right, shifted her weight, holding on with one arm, landing, slowing raises head(in dramatic way) and says,"..."...etc) I was able to cut it out but I lost a serious amount of content. I felt like I was butchering my story and it really got me down.

    I do have a pickiness for changing things, trying to make it better and not always being a 100% satisfied and I know some of the people around me are thinking "won't she make up her mind." But this is different. I came up with the story without understanding or aware of point of views, writing styles, grammar usage, character development, character design, themes, tones, storyline structure, dialogue, description...etc.

    I like what I have because part of me is torn as I've spent much effort and time into it, but the other part of me believes change and a great deal of revisions is the best thing for this series I'm working on. I'm curious if anyone has every experienced something like this or what your thoughts on my situation is.
     
  2. louis1
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    louis1 Contributing Member

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    what's wrong with ''turned left, right, shifted her weight, holding on with one arm, landing, slowing raises head'' ?

    but if you wrote without understanding point of views, writing styles, grammar usage, character development, character design, themes, tones, storyline structure, dialogue, description.
    I have to wonder... did you even write something ?
     
  3. Subject1157
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    Subject1157 New Member

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    Either I didn't explain myself really well(which wouldn't be surprising) or I'm stupid and have no idea what I am talking about. I'm starting to wonder if I should just call it quits with writing. I feel like I've been trying so hard and for many years but can't get anywhere or truly understand certain things. Sorry for the bother!
     
  4. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have written the same story twice - with totally different words. Now I realize it's still not good enough and am facing the third complete rewriting (which will, again, change the entire plot too). It's not bothering me so much, what's bothering me is that I thought it was ok and submitted it just to realize while waiting for the answers that I could have done it a lot better. It's inevitable that when you have to wait for 7 months for the rejection letter you grow as a writer during that time and when you get it back you don't look at it the same way anymore. Next time I will let it sit for a while before sending it anywhere.
    Don't be afraid of rewriting, that's part of the writers job and it's an excellent school. You learn a lot while working so much on the same story, especially when you can see all the previous versions of it and notice the difference.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    But the truth is, at some point you do just have to say, "This is perfect." Never mind whether it truly is, if you'd had 10 more years of experience - the fact is, it is the best you can do based on your current experience. Even professionals are always learning and improving. The fact that you're improving should serve as an encouragement, not discouragement. I think there's always the risk of never being satisfied with one's own work simply because we're our own worst critics.

    I could tell you my experience. I started planning for a novel without thought for characters, POV, structure, theme - nothing. I just started planning a world, a background and a story, and placed a few names here and there and called them "characters". I wrote 44 pages, and got writer's block (eg. didn't know what to write next). 3 years later, I got back to it. I really sorted through those 44 pages, things I liked, things I didn't, things that worked etc. I rewrote it from p.5 and in-cooperated it into a new draft. The new draft was over 200 pages long. I counted, if I combined the 2 drafts together, I'd written over 80k words.

    Just to realise the story doesn't work. By this point, I'd been working on it solid for a full year, which was quite long enough for me. I was hoping to have finished a first draft within a year, you see.

    I then spent 3 months planning, ditched everything I'd ever written on this novel, and started over from scratch. It's about 6 months since I started my brand new version and I've got my first draft :) But as I was writing, I'd changed a number of things, some quite vital to the plot and the climax. I've got a number of loose ends and a few plot holes. Now I'm rewriting, and adding quite a chunk.

    But what helped? Knowing where I'm going. I advise you to sit down and really figure out what's your story, what do you wanna convey to your readers? Is there a message? Figure these things out and then work out the absolute best way to convey these things. You can ALWAYS find more detail, you can ALWAYS do new things - if you worry yourself with including everything you've found out and trying to put it all into the story, you'll never finish.

    You must find your direction - once you have your direction, you'll know what is necessary detail, and what is just the cherry on top but could do without, what would truly enhance the story, what is unnecessary detail. You must prioritise. No novel could contain everything that makes its background/world/characters/story real - your knowledge of these things will come through in the way your characters react and respond, and that itself will give your novel depth. You don't need to deliberately write it in always. So yeh, sounds like with you, it's not your writing - it's a case of not being able to prioritise what's important, and your inability to complete the project before you go back with an edit.
     
  6. Nick Hudson
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    Nick Hudson Member

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    You never get it perfect. You only get it good enough to let it go, allowing you to move on to the next piece of writing.
     
  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    micromanaging your characters' every single physical movement, or as i call it, 'breathe in/breathe out' writing, is certainly to be avoided, being boring to the max... but necessary movement description, if worded well, just adds to the readers' ability to picture the scenes in their heads, as they read... it's a fine line that every would-be fiction writer needs to learn how to navigate successfully... the bad/sad news is that so few actually can...
     
  8. MissRis
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    MissRis Contributing Member

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    I'm working on rewriting my first-draft. It took me forever to finally finish it (2+ years), but I find the rewriting quicker. It's one of those things that needs to be done, especially (if like me) you didn't plan out anything and kind of wrote as it came. Now I can see HUGE plot holes & weak dialogue. It sucks having to redo scenes or adding scenes or deleting one's (particularly if you liked them) but they don't always work. All writers face this dilemma (I think).
     
  9. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Whenever I am torn about if I want to revisit something that is only so-so I have to sit down and think, What do I want out of this? Why am I writing this? Generally speaking I write for fun. So I think I would let it go if I didn't find it fun anymore.
    However I think the rewrite is the best part. I absolutely love finishing the rough draft because that's the hard part. The rewrite is the fun stuff. That's when you get to take something good and make it great. There is nothing more rewarding to me than that moment after I've slaved over a scene and dealt with "hard" feedback (my favorite kind of feedback because it's most helpful) and I can look at the scene and say, "It's way better now."
     
  10. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    Writing is indeed perhaps a frustrating art, because as far as I can see the requirement is pretty much always to produce something very polished and well executed. This arguably isn't always the case with music or visual art.

    However, I don't think that a minute knowledge of language and its workings is always necessary to produce a great piece of writing. Perhaps you are over thinking things slightly, both in terms of the action and then in the editing phase. If something reads well, if it evokes the sense you are looking for and is suitable for the genre and audience you are aiming for then in most cases it works; you don't need to pull it apart on the basis of its grammar, syntax or other language components. I could pick pretty much any book off my book shelf and it would probably contain bits that weren't in standard english. Similarly, trying to obey rules all the time with points of view and story structure can also be fatal to the writing process.

    Naturally, a balance is required, but if you allow your writing some freedom whilst keeping sight of some of basic things you'll probably develop your own style.

    In terms of your project, if you can't bare to drop it then that probably means you shouldn't. What I'd suggest is maybe setting it aside, reading lots of stuff of the same genre and really analysing how the authors achieve a successful piece of writing. Then, when you feel you've got a better idea of how writing works in real novels you might want to start your project from scratch, using whatever planning and other materials you've built up.
     
  11. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I have written a first draft and then rewritten it completely afterwards. For me, that's the first step in the editing. My first draft always seems to be some piece of poo that I do just to get the outline of the story out. It's kind of the meat, and I use it as a guideline for the next draft, in which I surround it with detail.

    It sounds to me like you are struggling because you don't know the little things about writing (not that I know everything, just saying). For example, the information you lacked for POV is crucial. Do you read a lot?

    This should not be a reason to panic. I remember the days when I lacked basic info on how to write. This forum helped me a lot, and it will help you. I don't recommend that you stop writing. I think you should write, but I wouldn't take it as seriously. Do it for fun, and as you do so, learn as much as you can by reading books and visiting this forum. Over time, you will improve. That's how it happened for me.

    When you read, be conscious of the little things the author is doing. ie, how they go about their dialogue, description, and just the overall progression of the story. Don't think of the story as a list of things the character does. Look for ways to let the story flow, gradually. An easy read. I hope I helped. I thought your OP was a little vague, but perhaps I gave some kind of a sufficient answer.

    My 2 cents.
     

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