Day 2 of Indie E-Con is underway! Don’t miss all the happenings over on Kendra’s blog! I have a Q&A today (starting at 10:30 am) over there so hop over and ask me any question you can think of! I’ll also be offering critiques (starting at 10 am) so don’t be shy to share some of your writing! Also, Adela’s Curse is up for some awards! If you’ve read it, I’d love if you would head over and nominate it!
Today I’m tackling the subject of re-writes and why you shouldn’t be afraid of them!
Ever written a book you didn’t mean to? And not in a good way? Ever not known what to do with your story? Ever gotten stuck halfway through? Like, really stuck?
Maybe it’s time to consider doing something different with it. Maybe it’s time to re-write.
Ugh. No one wants to hear that word. Unfortunately it’s necessary, especially if you feel disconnected from your story. This has happened to me with at least two books. With one I had an idea of what I wanted the book to be. And it fell short. Like not even in the same ballpark. So to at least make it back into the outfield, I’ve had to start re-writing. Now this doesn’t mean the whole story gets scrapped. The basic storyline is the same. The characters are too for the most part. But I completely changed the landscape, revamped cultures, and changed up the villain. This is more than edits. I’m tearing it down to build something better in its place.
Here are a few reasons to re-write.
- You hate your story: take a break. Re-evaluate. Figure out what it is you don’t like about it, and make the change.
- You’re stuck on a plot point: this also happened to me. The thing I planned to happen just wasn’t. I realized it was because that wasn’t the direction the story needed to go. I cut 12K words and am so much happier with the new plan.
- Word count is drastically lower than expected: Now I’m not saying go forth with the purple prose just to get a higher word count. Sometimes stories can be told in fewer words. But re-evaluate and see what can be expanded. You might be surprised with what you find.
- Feedback isn’t what you expected: it might be something you love but if you get consistent negative feedback, it’s time to consider a change. This is why early readers are so important!!
- The character voice isn’t right: this happens frequently. You might start out writing in 1st person and then discover the story will work better in some flavor of 3rd. Or you might discover the wrong person was telling the story the whole time.
- Your first draft is a hot mess: you did NaNo and wrote all of the words. It might need a little re-write love. 😛
Now don’t be discouraged if you have to re-write. It can be the most amazing thing in the world. Once you find that thing that really makes your book click, you’ll probably end up loving your book more than before. Also notice how I kept using re-evaluate. When I re-evaluate a patient, I’m assessing strengths and remaining weaknesses, what needs improvement, what is already strong, new goals for treatment, etc. It’s really no different for a re-write. It’s just another step on the way to making a strong, cohesive book.