Rewriting, a painful task for any writer. It’s one of the hardest parts of novel writing but it’s an important step. Robert Graves is famously quoted in saying that there is ‘no such thing as good writing, only good rewriting’ and that’s something to keep in mind!
It’s certainly a labour of love but if you are a serious writer looking to publish, it’s something you really need to do. It’s easy to slip into the mind set of creating the perfect first draft but that can also be a really detrimental idea. Your writing doesn’t need to be perfect on the first try but it can be improved upon, and that’s where rewriting comes in!
The first step is… well, I hate to say it, but the first step is to write your first draft. ‘Uh, duh’, but seriously, just write. Don’t think too much about the smaller details, the fluffy sentences and creative flair. Focus on the big things. Try to make your plot strong from the beginning while also enjoying the journey of writing. The first draft doesn’t need to be pretty but if you can make it strong, the rewrite is going to be 100 times easier! Trust me, I’m starting to rewrite a story with an average plot and the wrong POV and tense… it’s no fun.
So make sure to practice writing in different POV and tense to ensure that you don’t have to suffer the way I am. If you can get the POV and tense right, you’re half way to victory.
Once draft one is complete, it’s time for a re-read! This is another very important step. It’s easy to go over and over the story while it’s on a screen, but take the time to print it out and read it like a real book. This way you’ll pick up on so many more mistakes, plot issues and lines that pull you from the story. Also, try reading aloud to pick up on anything odd, you’ll look like a bit of an idiot, especially if you get dramatic like I do, but it really does help.
My next tip would be beta readers. Ask your friends, ask other writers, ask your mum, to read your story and give feedback. Ask more than one person and when you get the feedback, look for similar crossovers. Everyone has different opinions on stories but when the same mistake is picked up by more than one reader, it’s definitely something you need to consider.
This tip may sound dumb, but it’s something that I’m trying to keep in mind as I rewrite. Try to take your time and enjoy it! Yes, rewriting is a lot of effort but it’s also pretty exciting. You’re one step closer to being able to publish your work and that’s something to be proud of!
Take your time. Look for outright mistakes but also look for areas you can improve upon. And don’t forget to appreciate yourself and the fact you actually finished a novel! That’s a pretty amazing feeling and you should definitely bask in the glory!
The last tip, a second draft may not mean a final draft. Many authors go through their books more than once so it isn’t odd if you have to go through it another few times before it feels ready. Don’t be hard on yourself, it’s a process but in the end, it is going to be worth it!
So enjoy your time rewriting and watch as your book baby comes to life!