Writer's Blog (megancrewe) wrote,
Writer's Blog
megancrewe

  • Mood:

Why rewrite

Everyone writes differently, and everyone revises differently. For me, revision has always included--has always demanded--rewriting. By rewriting I mean writing the story over from the beginning, with the previous draft open in front of me for reference for all the parts that are staying the same or similar. GIVING UP THE GHOST went through at least three rewrites between first draft and current. I just finished POSSESSING LUCY's third.

I was tempted to simply read and edit-as-I-went this time through. I had just rewritten it with major changes, and I simply wanted to make sure those major changes were flowing as smoothly as I could get them before I asked for readers. But I ended up rewriting after all, and having done so, I'm so glad I did.

It wouldn't be as good a book if I'd just edited. I know this, because I know I changed things as I was rewriting that it wouldn't have occurred to me to change if I was just editing--but because I had to type it out all over again, why not rearrange those sentences or change the structure of that one or add a little more description in here? I couldn't just skim, so I couldn't miss anything. (Well, I'm sure I missed things anyway, but a lot less than I would have otherwise.)

Rewriting, for me, is a place in between creativity and practicality. I'm still writing, creating, letting myself get carried along in the flow of the story as it comes, but I'm also analyzing as I go, doing whatever I can to take the text I'm looking at and shape it into something stronger on the blank page. Frankly, I often like it better than the initial act of writing. Especially second drafts. That first rewrite is a chance to take the mess I threw onto the page the first time through and remake it into something I really love. The first draft is the underpainting, and the second is where the real picture takes shape. And sometimes it turns out I do a few layers of underpainting before I can see exactly how I want the picture to be. That's okay, too. Each time, I get closer to putting what's in my head on the page.

Which is why I rewrite.
Tags: revision, the process
Subscribe

  • A book shout-out: A Corner of White

    Today’s shout-out goes to Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White: I’d enjoyed the previous books by Moriarty that I’d…

  • A book shout-out: Cuckoo Song

    It always makes me sad when I read a book that is really lovely, and notice that not many people seem to be talking about it. So I’m going to…

  • New book from a departed friend

    Many of you, I hope, are familiar with L.K. Madigan’s work: her debut novel, Flash Burnout, won the William C. Morris Award. Sadly Lisa was…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 15 comments

  • A book shout-out: A Corner of White

    Today’s shout-out goes to Jaclyn Moriarty’s A Corner of White: I’d enjoyed the previous books by Moriarty that I’d…

  • A book shout-out: Cuckoo Song

    It always makes me sad when I read a book that is really lovely, and notice that not many people seem to be talking about it. So I’m going to…

  • New book from a departed friend

    Many of you, I hope, are familiar with L.K. Madigan’s work: her debut novel, Flash Burnout, won the William C. Morris Award. Sadly Lisa was…