1. GoldenFeather
    Offline

    GoldenFeather Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Messages:
    219
    Likes Received:
    79

    When in doubt...rewrite?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by GoldenFeather, Jan 19, 2016.

    I've been stuck in this short story for a long time. Some chapters I couldn't be happier with, other parts of the story lag and I don't know why. The more I edit, the more disappointed I become with some material.

    If the gist of your chapters are in your head, do you think it's safe to just scrap the entire thing and rewrite it? Or would you approach this in a different way?

    Thanks!
     
    jannert likes this.
  2. Electralight
    Offline

    Electralight Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2016
    Messages:
    61
    Likes Received:
    22
    Location:
    Dominica
    I would go ahead and rewrite it. Maybe you are having trouble with the POV or the way one of your characters is acting. Make an outline of what you want to see happen, and start writing in a couple of different styles. Eventually you will find one you like and you can continue going on in that one.
    Hope that helps!
     
  3. Passero
    Offline

    Passero Member

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2014
    Messages:
    75
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    London
    I sometimes have the same problem. Usually when I start my first draft I think it's ok. When I leave it to rest for a few days and come back to it, I believe it's crap and I start over.
    It also happens a lot that once my first draft is ready, after a few days I suddenly come up with another way of telling the same story and I just rewrite it and notice it's better.
     
    GoldenFeather likes this.
  4. nastyjman
    Offline

    nastyjman Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2010
    Messages:
    317
    Likes Received:
    136
    Location:
    NYC
    If the scene is not moving or adding anything to the story, scrap it. Story lags when nothing changes from beginning to the end of the scene. Change being the mood of the scene or fortune (misfortune) of the character.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. peachalulu
    Offline

    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    3,821
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Depends. I usually have to decide whether I'm overreacting - get another set of eyes on it or wait a bit. Or if I'm genuinely displeased with it and then I'll start over.

    By starting over I usually keep some of the storyline in tact or if I particularly liked some scenes or lines I'll keep them. It's rare that I've scrapped everything. Usually if it's that bad I go onto another story.
     
  6. jannert
    Offline

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    7,778
    Likes Received:
    7,288
    Location:
    Scotland
    Have you got a person you trust whom you can share this story with, face to face? Have them read it on their own, then get together and discuss it? Getting another viewpoint into the process can really help. They might see what your story is truly 'about,' and it will help you to maybe understand what's been going wrong and what you need to do to reshape it so it works.

    I am a big believer in sorting story problems out by yourself, but you seem very stuck and say you have worked on this a long time. It might be time for another head to enter the picture!
     
    tonguetied likes this.
  7. LostThePlot
    Offline

    LostThePlot Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2015
    Messages:
    431
    Likes Received:
    343
    I would definitely agree that if you don't feel like you are getting 'there' by editing what you have then you should just scrap it. Editing is just different to writing. It is. It's slow and crappy and frustrating and constantly stopping and starting makes making big changes a really horrible experience. We always want to try and keep stuff but then the stuff we keep limits what we can do. Now, if you just need to tweak, to cut down, to polish; editing over and over again is fine. But when just can't get there don't be afraid to just start over. Start over and tweak something in the scene; make characters move, change who speaks first, little things that help you start in a fresh mindset. Definitely keep what you have; don't just delete it. But open a new document and start over. If there's some stuff there that you feel are really nice turns of phrase then you can keep them but think in terms of keeping a sentence or two.
     
    GoldenFeather likes this.
  8. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I try to use lulls to grow the characters as individuals, with back story or personality that evolves them. If there are things that don't fit, or progress the story get scrapped (sometimes cut down to little more than a mention in passing). Utilize down time in your story to add substance when nothing too important is happening. :p
     
    GoldenFeather likes this.

Share This Page