I must admit- I hate rewrites. I know its part of the process, but it’s the ‘unfun’ part if you ask me. The first draft tend to bubble up and overflow with scenes and plot. Rewrites, on the other hand, is all about cut, paste, selecting better wording, changing flaws in characters, and sometimes deletes.
Yes, decidedly ‘unfun’.
There are times when re-reading, however, I’m horrified by what I wrote. What possessed me to put it that way? What was I thinking? Was I drunk? Was I somehow distracted? Did my fickle muse abandon me once more?
Thus, the importance of the rewrite stage.
- Take note of grammar and punctuation. Are you writing in the passive voice. Do you see ‘was’ ‘has’ or ‘is’ a lot? Commas where they should be? Have you removed the dreaded ‘ly’ words?
- Is the conflict clear in the first few pages of your story? Don’t bore readers with backstory, prologues, dream sequences, or mundane story telling. Throw the reader into the action.
- Tell a theme. Most stories tell something more than just the obvious conflict. Some show the struggle of man versus self, nature, or other antagonists. What is the lesson learned?
- Are you telling or showing? Do you know the difference? Don’t just tell the reader a character is scared or angry- show it through dialog and action. Don’t spoon feed information; unveil through description, conversation, action, etc.
A tip I’d like to share with those who are rewriting;
When you’re working on your manuscript and want to keep track of where you are, highlight the paragraph you’re working on and pick a highlight color. This will make it easy to spot when you work on another time.
You can also use odd text or a word such as write in the area of the manuscript you’re working on “unfun” (for example) and then when you come back later, use Ctrl+F which opens the ‘search’ function. Type in ‘unfun’ and it will go straight to it.
Have fun writing.