Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Edit vs ReWrite

Someone found my blog yesterday googling the question: will I make a lot of changes to my first draft?

If this was you, I hope my blog didn't scare you. I make no secret about the countless hours of revisions that go into each round of edits I make. My first draft only resembles the current version in that it has some of the same characters and the central conflict is mostly the same.

Even the constitution had a rough first draft CC

The question did make me start wondering about a piece I'm working on right now. I only got about 1/3 of the way through the story before I ran out of steam. As much as I love the story, I'm not that excited to keep working on it because I know how really (REALLY) rough what I have so far is.

Is it worth it to keep going or should I stop and start over? Do I keep building on a story I recognize as fundamentally flawed or scrap it and pick up the story with a fresh perspective?

I'm loathe to dismiss what I've got so far, but even I can recognize it's not good.

Has this ever happened to you? Ever gotten part-way through a story only to realize it's not working? Did you shoulder through and finish so you could clean it all up nice and shiny in revision? Did you cut your losses and embrace the blank page?

Let me know, because apparently I'm not the only one with the questions.

8 comments:

  1. Honestly, the more I write, the more I'm recognizing my personal issues. Every single thing I've written stalls out at the 25,000-30,000 word point. Everything. I have three different books sitting in my house sitting at that exact point. I have no idea why, but I am learning that I just have to push through that because I think it's some sort of mental writer fatigue. Either that or I just need to start writing 25000 word novellas instead. ;o)

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    1. Lady, I don't know how you do so many projects at once. I have three in various states of completeness and it's driving me bonkers.

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  2. Haha yes! I had a Lower YA story that I got about 16k down of. And then I realized something wasn't working and I started to prefer the other love interest who had only appeared around the last 2k of the story. Well, I'd become so curious that I scrapped that novel and completely started a new one, which turned out to be a pretty awesome MG (ya know, in my mind lol). I used the same characters, but I wanted to see how the girl and this boy had first met as kids :)

    You never know where one idea is going to take you :)

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    1. I'm sure it's pretty awesome on paper, too. I'm not sure where mine took the ugly turn and I'm worried if I just try to edit it, I won't find out. I'm leaning toward a re-write.

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  3. I've done a ton of revising and I've completely rewritten. I don't see any writing as wasted. It's a learning experience. I think you have to go with your gut. If you think you can save something in revisions, then keep going. If you can't go any further until you rewrite/revise, then do that. Whatever gets the manuscript written is what I go with.

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  4. Don't ditch it. Go back and look at your characters and write down their GMC (Goal, motive and conflicts) and see if you can flesh those out more, then go back to your story. This happens to me sometimes and I'm one of those people who absolutely hates shelfing my work. Rewrite, add more chapters in-between...more conflicts, whether internal or external, helps.Good luck!

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  5. That happened to me once. I ditched 30k of revised and critiqued manuscript because I realized the plot wasn't as tight as it needed to be and I decided it wasn't as marketable as I new idea I had was. Dumping the 30k was SO HARD. But I was right to do it. My new WIP is so much stronger.
    My vote - ditch it and start over. And you might as well outline a little while you're at it, so you're sure where you're going this time.
    Good luck! :-)

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  6. I know this is old, but I'm going to comment anyway. I have thought my novel was done three times now. Three. I even sent out a handful of queries. That I got some requests shored up that belief. Was it done? By all means, no. I just didn't really know what a done MS looked like before. But I believe in my story, so I'm shouldering on. Salvaging the parts that work. Taking a good hard look at the plot and fixing it. However long it takes.

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