1. Ferb
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    Ferb Member

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    Rewriting Tips

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Ferb, Aug 12, 2009.

    I've finally finished writing the first draft of a story, and I'm now at the stage where I need to fix my sentences and general word choice for better reading. The problem is I find this rewriting stage really slow and difficult. I've been working on the same three paragraphs, and before I know it an hour has passed and they still haven't sounded right.

    What are some of the things that help you when you're rewriting?
     
  2. canadianmint
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    canadianmint Member

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    Don't work on your manuscript longer than 2 hours at a time. Then you might get too critical than creative and start cutting/changing all the wrong things.

    Breath between edit sessions.
     
  3. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Just read each sentence out aloud (or if that sounds lame, do what I do and imagine your internal voice sounding louder as you read). You should be able to pick up if something doesn't sound right like repeated words, incorrect word usage, convoluted sentences. If you can't determine the problem but sense that something is wrong, just simplify the sentence. The more basic a sentence is the less chance it has of being flawed.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    And remember that a rewrite is much, much more than fixing the errors in your first draft. You should be looking at ways to strengthen characters, ways to bring out the major themes in the novel, ways to develop a more ideosyncratic style. The fix is just step one.
     
  5. essential life
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    essential life Member

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    I second the "read out loud" part. Sometimes, it's gotta roll of your tongue in order to really sound right.

    And I don't know about anyone else, but I don't do a re-write. I do a re-re-re-re-write. I'm always in a constant state of revision. It's kinda frustrating and time consuming. But whatever...
     
  6. afinemess
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    afinemess Active Member

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    I third the read aloud. It's the only way I find problems sometimes, and even then, I've reread my own story so much that I just automatically know what its supposed to say and miss stuff. Have you had anyone else go through it and some corrections to typos? Then you can focus more on making sure your plot and characters and all that other jazz is right. It's a lot to tackle a whole work! Thats whay I write about 60 pages and get them right (or as right as it can be until the rest is done) and then move on. Good luck, hope it goes faster for you!
     
  7. Ferb
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    Ferb Member

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    I'm pretty good at fixing typos and most grammar-related errors. My main problem is I know the characters' background a little too much that I don't always know which facts about them I should include or not include... or how to pace them. I've gone over the story so many times that I can longer look at it objectively.
     
  8. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It should be fairly clear if something will add to your story or not....I mean all you have are words, and from that you need to construct specific meanings, themes, ideas....so just think "what does this convey to the reader? what ideas will this form? how does this relate to the theme of the story?" and if the answer isn't something you're happy with, delete that sentence/section. If you're trying to pick back-story info to add, it should be easy if you know the history of your character...you'll read something and think "Oh, this is like when X happened in his childhood", or "this subplot from another part of his life reinforces the main idea I'm trying to communicate here".

    Like I said, fixing the syntax and spelling is the very least of your worries - that stuff's so easy, even a piece of software can do a decent job of it. What that software can't tell you is "this section is unclear", "the message here is ambiguous", "this part needs more explaining", "give an analogy from his childhood here", and that's what your main concern should be.
     
  9. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I'm at the same phase as you...but I am honestly pretty much re-writing the mc. My first draft barely plays any part, I'm just re-writing it and adding a bunch of subplots. But I think the most important thing is reading out loud. Also, I agree that you should not spend too much time on the same part. I personally have broken it down to chapter by chapter and an re-writing each one and adding things in, then moving on to the next chapter when it feels right...
    But then again, when I'm done this second draft I may even re-write it again...but I hope not, just edit :)
     
  10. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you've reached that phase where you've revised it so much you can't remain objective any longer, it's time to give it to somebody who can. They'll pick up the inconsistencies in an instant, and read your book in way that you never could.
     

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