Tuesday, January 1, 2013

How To Rewrite A Book


There is nothing more devastating than realizing the book you slaved over for months or even years needs to be rewritten. I am not talking about editing a book from beginning to end. I am talking about starting all over again with a blank page and completely rewriting it from the very first word.
You will feel overwhelmed! You will feel impatient! You may want to burst into tears, but you will do it because you can! Yes, it is dreadful, painful, and hard to take apart a book that you’ve already written to rewrite it, but it can be done and in the end you may end up with a gem that you can be proud of.
I had to do this. I had been writing a series for five years when I suddenly felt disconnected from it. How could this happen, I asked myself. How could I possibly lose interest in writing a series that I’ve spent a good part of my life writing?

On the left is the original first page of my book that I wrote when I was twelve. On the right is the rewrite that I wrote a few years later.
Photo by Chrys Fey


The answer to that question was the fact that I grew up, matured, and the book didn’t reflect who I was as an adult. There may be other reasons why a writer may all of a sudden feel disconnected from their work. Maybe it’s because of writers block, maybe they are not cut out to be a writer, or maybe a part of their subconscious realized that the story they’ve been working on isn’t so good after all.
Whatever the reason is, when you find yourself in this position and you have a passion to write, do not fret! If the story is no good, well, you may have to toss it. If you love the story idea, then try visualizing new players. If you love your characters then perhaps you have to rethink the storyline. When I rewrote the first book in my series, I only kept a few characters and the supernatural concept behind the story, but I had to search for a drastically different story idea. It took a long time. I got and dismissed many different ideas before I settled on an idea that I loved.
These are the notebooks that I've written in for the series I am working on now.
Photo by Chrys Fey

Sitting back and looking at the whole piece before you dive into rewriting it is the best thing to do. Pull up that file, open that notebook and begin to read it with fresh eyes. As you are reading it you can figure out what you have to do (what needs changing, what characters need to be improved, what direction the story needs to take, etc.), and make a list to keep track of all of your ideas. When you do this, it gives you a clear path to take. Then start recreating a different plot with your new ideas. A detailed plot will reveal whether you have a complete, well thought out book or not.
The key is to have an idea in mind of what you want the book to become before you do reconstructive surgery on it. Otherwise, you’ll get overwhelmed and be left with a shredded piece of work that you may never want to fix.
Taking it one step at a time is always best.

If you have editing questions about your book you can contact me on Facebook. 

 

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