Why I Love Rewrites Over Editing

You’ll see that I posted about how much I hate editing over here (sorry editing lovers, I really am) but today I want to talk about how much rewriting is the complete opposite and almost as hard.

When I sit down to do creative writing that isn’t a blog post or a piece that is for publication that I can take my time with it, I have a completely different process here.

Rewrites are completely different to edits. Or at least in my book and I’m actually glad they are, because they’re less painful and more conducive to my creative process but they’re just plainly more engaging and I like being able to recraft the words that were already there into something new.

I’ve just started rewrites for a project that I’m going to attempt to self-publish, just to get a feel for what that process is like in the flesh to help present and future clients. I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to bring you along for the journey.

Let’s get started with what I do first when it comes to rewriting. If it’s a full first draft I go through it to get rid of all of the red squiggly lines aka spelling mistakes, from the manuscript, then I make sure that it reads okay and that my rush to get it written hasn’t lost all meaning. Then I head off to Officeworks and print the MS out. Because I need a print copy to pick up on everything that I missed because there are always words missing letters and spaces where they shouldn’t.

Our eyes tend to fix the mistakes the computer makes without even meaning to, so it means that we miss out on some of the missing words in the text and I’ve printed out assignments and manuscripts and laughed myself silly finding the mistakes that are in the piece. Although sometimes even the rush means that I’ve left INSERT REFERENCE HERE into an assignment. Seriously I did it. My lecturer laughed at me.

Once I’ve fixed them and pulled the chapters apart, I actually note down the main themes in each chapter (although with my new rewrite I’m starting it’s smaller than any of my other projects) and with that, I put the manuscript aside and start the writing.

This is where the real fun comes into it. With the notes beside me and a blank Scrivener, I actually write from memory, and this was a trick that my year 9 English teacher drummed into me. I write from what I can remember and the main points and it tightens my prose.

It fleshes out things that I didn’t know needed fleshing out, but more so it actually allows me time to work with what I’ve got. It’s like getting the steps of a dance nailed down and then adding your own flair to the actual steps. I’m adding the flair to the story that wasn’t there before.

I’m molding and shaping a two dimension world and making it rounder, more third dimensional and getting into the deep gritty heart of the piece.

With my draft of my series that I’m working on, I learned that there were flashbacks that I could nix completely, I was sad to see them go, but it didn’t move the story ahead and I could draw on them later if need be. I didn’t delete them, I just filed them away to be used somewhere else.

And that’s half the fun. Learning what needs to stay and what can go.

Rewriting is beautiful because you can get into the nooks of the story that you didn’t know existed, but at the same time, it can be the bane of your existence.

I learned when my Dad passed away that I was blocked…good and truly blocked for at least 3 months and I was on my own self-proclaimed deadline to try and finish the rewrite for my story. It was crawling through razor blades, it physically hurt to write any word on the page and I couldn’t find a way out of it or around it.

But once I did get through it learned that there was a part of the story that flowed better and needed a different point of view to get there. Or different brain.

These rewrites are different. I’m not printing anything out and I finished fixing the spelling mistakes. I have a few weeks to flesh out this 35k manuscript. It’s a quarter of the size of what I’m normally working with, so the joy with this one is I get to expand on just about everything in the book. Starting with the narrator, her position as a pain goddess and wife to a seer but more so, I get to get comfortable with her as a focaliser without being too invested in her. Lyra is wonderful in her own way but I think I’m just too comfortable with Lucy having been with her for 15 years (yes I have a problem with L names…don’t even know why!)

So I’m doing some updates on Instagram and Twitter. Come along and find me at @mandikont and chat at me about my progress. Ask me how I’m going I’d love some accountability on what I’m writing and how I’m going. I have just over a month to get this book ready for an editor…I can do that, right?

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Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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