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Archive for the tag “rewriting”

Strategies for Revising Your Novel

“You’ve done it: typed The End. Those two wonderful words mark your graduation from always-wanted-to-write-a-novel to someone-who-did. Congratulations. Other ideas might be cooking away in the back of your brain, making you eager to start a new project. Often, this is where the spirit wanes as new writers lose momentum for the old manuscript. Because, you didn’t finish, did you? You only finished the draft. Now you have to focus on revising your novel.”  

7 Strategies for Revising Your Novel, Writer’s Digest

I generally take a dim view of checklists, laundry lists and other recipe-approaches to writing and rewriting. However, this Writer’s Digest article has decent ideas for what we should/might/sort of consider doing after we finish the first draft.

Here’s an interesting quote: “The rewrite is tougher than the draft. The draft is infatuation. The right rewrite strengthens your fiction into something that lasts to publication and gains a significant readership.” That seems to be the way it is. We roar through the first draft, having fun, slipping past the known flaws and lame sentences, because we’re blazing a trail into new territory.

Once that’s done, we need to see the story the way the reader might see it, or want to see it, and even though this article presents a checklist, it’s not half bad.

–Malcolm

 

 

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A new edition offers a writer fresh opportunity

Sooner or later, professional writers have to finish their manuscripts. Deadlines seldom allow for Infinite tinkering unless that tinkering is happening with a back-burner project.

But let’s suppose a book goes out of print, especially one that didn’t find a readership when it was new due to the timing of the release, the promotion, the cover, or even some of an author’s own editorial decisions.

newblogartIf you have always believed in the story, you have another chance to start fresh. After all, it won’t be like you’re changing a classic and will have a million readers asking why Bob shoots George in the first edition and George shoots Bob in the second edition.

The fresh opportunity I see here probably is less drastic than a major plot upheaval. In fact, if anyone to sees both editions, they might not notice what was changed.

Once a book comes out, it usually is as it is. If we have second thoughts later, we usually have to let them go. Plus, whether you’re under contract with a publisher to produce a new series of books or not, it’s usually considered more forward-looking for an author to concentrate on new stuff rather than trying to re-work (or salvage) old stuff.

With a new edition, you can add that character you deleted the first time out, you can tighten up the language or re-work scenes you wish you’d made longer or shorter, and you can explore things you wanted to say, but didn’t say. We’re influenced by a lot of things as we write: what a beta reader or editor suggests, what the publisher wants, or even how we feel exactly about the more edgy themes and plot twists.

These things are on my mind these days as I re-work an out-of-print book of my own. To some extent, the publisher and I didn’t have a solid “meeting of the minds” about how the book should be focused. More importantly, I was less than comfortable writing about incidents in the book which came out of my own experience and skirted a few issues.

When the new edition comes out, I hope it finds more readers than the first edition. But even if it doesn’t, I’ll feel better about it because (sink or swim) it will more closely match with my original vision for the story.

Sometimes there’s gold in old stories whether they reached publication or not. Fix the old or create the new? That’s not an easy choice. It probably comes down to passion. Are you passionate about the story. If so, it might be worth another look and a fresh opportunity for making it what you really want it to be.

–Malcolm

KIndle cover 200x300Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of “The Sun Singer,” “Sarabande,” “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire,” “Emily’s Stories,” and “Conjure Woman’s Cat.”

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