1. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Rewriting your Book

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Reggie, Feb 14, 2011.

    Has any of you all thought that your book sucks so bad that you thought about writing it over again, since the idea is still good? I am in the process of rewriting it and I'm wondering if I'm the only one who deos that? I also heard from a lot of people that the more edit, revise or rewrite your story, the better the novel becomes. Is that true? Does it seem to work to write not a "2nd one, not a 3rd and not a 4th one, but a 5th" rewrite of the book?
     
  2. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It might be an issue of self esteem or viewing you book to critically. Have you handed it over to a few select readers for feedback?
     
  3. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Yes, but many of my readers found that the book is boring. So I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, and I have read many intersting books and tried applying the styles of other author's writing to mine.
     
  4. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Have you studies the mechanism of story, scenes and characters? There is a lot of good books on the subject? My favorite is Keith Johnstones book "Impro. Improvisation for the theater" strangely enough, but the mechanism on how to build a interesting story is the same.
     
  5. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep my first book is currently on its 5th rewrite and it is much better. Each draft has been much better, the first attempt was awful. Now its quite good and I am proud of it.
     
  6. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I finished a book in December, but there were way too many plot holes, inconsistencies and "wtf" aspects for it to stand. The middle portion just kind of flew by and the ending didn't make much sense. I pushed through anyways because I've got 20-something unfinished novels lying around as it is and don't need to add another to the list. Now, I figured out how to make the plot work, so I cut the latter two thirds of the novel and am re-writing it. I'm balancing this with the outlining and development of another.
     
  7. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Reggie

    I think that you have to strike a balance between completing a novel within a reasonable time scale, and making it the very best book that you can. You can't rush it and expect it to be your very best work, but on the other hand you can't analyze it endlessly, because you'll never finish.

    When I finally completed my first novel, I filed it away for a couple of months to create some distance, then went back and read it in its entirety as if I was a reader who had never seen it before. On the strength of that re-read, I ended up re-writing a very large chunk of the novel's first 150 pages, which I didn't feel were quite up to the standard of what followed. In truth however, there probably isn't a single page of that novel that I couldn't improve in some small way, but there has to come a time when you look at it and accept that it's as good as it needs to be, otherwise you will fret about it eternally.
     
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  8. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^^
    Good points. I sometimes think I could always find something to change in what I write.
    But somewhere along the line you need to finish.

    To answer the OP's question - yes I re-wrote my first would-be novel. Not from scratch and not because it was all crap, but because I wanted to make it better.

    That meant more re-writes, yet more editing, cutting out stuff and writing several more chapters - essentially changing the whole ending of the book.

    It worked for me because there was a long 'gap' between writing and re-writing, and I could go back with a fresh perspective and new insights on writing.
     
  9. danipower0204
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    danipower0204 New Member

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    Yes. Right now I'm feeling that way. I'm 150 or so pages into my first book, and right now I'm like, damn, I wanna rewrite this. But there are some good parts, I think. So I always try to get someone to read it, but no one ever does because they're "too busy". Maybe my book is just bad.
     
  10. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    This does happen to some authors. It happened to me. :) It wasn't because I thought my storyline was bad or my writing was badly done. I had around 300+ pages done. I loved the scenes, but I realized they weren't working together well. I couldn't connect them all so I just opted to rewrite the story and use those scenes later.

    It can be frustrating because you put so much time and effort into those scenes, only to discard them for something else. There have been a few professional authors that have admitted into running into things like this. It has made them either completely drop that story or put it on the shelf for months until they decide to resume it later.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've heard that D.H. Lawrence would write his second drafts from scratch, without even looking at the first drafts. I think it happens a lot. I've done it with a couple of short stories, and I have another short story and a novel I plan to rewrite completely from scratch.
     
  12. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I advise you to re-write it after you have fully completed the first draft. Finishing the first draft gives you confidence. It helps you in the gathering of all your thoughts and all or most of the parts of the book. It pretty much organizes things for me. I am on my 3rd re-write because my first 2 were horrendous. I advise you to, after a few re-writes (how many is up to you) once you feel like your draft is decent at the worst, to start your editing and revising. You will be able to tell when it is ready!
     
  13. S-wo
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    S-wo Active Member

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    I wouldn't do a re-write unless I had lost my work or it's been a long time since I've touched it. I would just edit it otherwise.
     
  14. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    To me, the best way to write a story is like this:
    First time you just write it down and don't care about crappy writing. Don't think that other people are going to read it, just write for yourself. Don't even look back, and don't bother editing anything. Over-describe things, or drop all descriptions, just don't care how it sounds. When it's all written down, then start thinking about other people reading it. Sometimes it's better to rewrite the entire thing from scratch, but usually you can just edit the document you wrote it in.

    When you're done with the second draft of the story, start asking people what they think of it and your writing. Take in all the advice and criticism you get, and work on your third draft. Taking a break between each draft is also a good idea. Take a few months, and maybe write something else and try to gain some experience.

    I'm not sure if you wanted advice, but I gave you some anyway :p
    The story will never be perfect though. You'll just have to decide one day that it's good enough.
     
  15. Jones6192
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    I usually plot out my stories beforehand, so I know which direction I'm going when I actually do the manuscript. This is a nice process, because it is in this period when you can think of ways that your story can make interesting decisions and do unexpected favors to your tastes.

    Upon re-reading that, it made no sense.
     
  16. Heather Munn
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    Heather Munn Member

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    I am one of those people that will tell you a book gets better at each rewrite.

    My novel that is coming out soon went like this:

    First draft - written by my mother
    Second draft - re-written by my mother
    Third draft - re-written (at her request) by me
    Fourth draft - re-written by me again
    Fifth draft - I didn't rewrite everything that time, but I did rewrite a major storyline, cut one point of view, and cut 65,000 words out of the book

    Of course it is up to you to decide what is worth your time and what isn't. But as far as rewriting being beneficial, I'd say yes.

    Also, maybe someone's said this, but there's a really big difference between rewriting it "fresh" and going in and changing things here and there. There's something about the act of writing it out all new on a new page that really makes room for new ideas, improvements on old ideas, metaphors that suddenly spring to mind, a different way of writing a sentence so it flows better, etc. I usually keep the old scene right below the new scene so I can consult it easily, and then I delete the old stuff paragraph by paragraph as I go along, so that the part of the scene I'm working on right now is always immediately accessible.
     

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