Re-writing :: Finding What Works

beltain14 002The re-write of Planes Shifter is going surprisingly well.

I’ve written at least 429 words a day for 46 days in a row now. That’s 19,700 words. And in reality, as I often go over the minimum; I’ve written 32,522.

– I re-outlined, revised the first few chapters and then re-outlined once the beginning was settled.

– I’ve pasted in scenes from the previous draft (colour coded in green so I know they’re not new words) and written a short beat / scene summary between # symbols so that I can keep track of my individual scenes in the main novel file.

Unless I’m really struggling for wordcount, I’m keeping the edits in order of the story. This means that I have a fully written/edited beginning, and then a few blocks of written/polished prose in patches which I chose to write when I struggled. They’re not forced in the way NaNoWriMo rubbish is thrown on the page [which I’ve certainly done before], but by reaching forward to an emotional or descriptive passage ahead, I find something to write about.

Thus, I have two wordcounts – the “edited, polished, beginning to current place in this new draft” amount and the “this is how many words are in my word document, including pasted words I may cut and summary sentences” amount.

The first one is currently at 35,000 words. The second is at 53,200.

I’ve completed/edited 26 scenes (~1.5k each) and have 26 scenes to go. That should get me to 75k by the end. So I’m around 50% through, and most of what I have left to write is new material entirely. I’m not yet sure if that’s going to make things go faster or slower.

I haven’t rewritten a whole book before, and as I complete this redraft, I’m tweaking the process a little more.

– I began by flitting between scenes; not in order. But I found myself confused. So that’s an option to keep for a last resort

– In the past, I’ve gone to research things there and then. This time, I’m underlining the words and putting a note in my notes file.

– I’ve also been listening to podcasts and videos about writing that mean I want to tweak my beginning scene. But I’ve put notes in the notes file and left the scene as it currently stands.

– I’m also keeping check of the subplots; something I may have decided before hand, and then just looked to add something which build on that in certain scenes. This time it’s a planned place, a plotted event which occurs and if something new crops up, I’ll stop and re-outline — tweak my notes file to match.

I’m not sure how much better/worse/the same this draft will be, but it’s definitely a learning draft. And it’s easier to keep track of than the ones ones, which I’d say is definitely a positive.

 Have you ever re-written a project?

What methods and strategies did you change or keep from previous projects?

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2 responses to “Re-writing :: Finding What Works

  1. I’ve done one complete overhaul — change of setting, characters, the works — and started editing my current project with the intention of focusing on plot and characterization, only to find that what I was really setting myself up for was a nearly complete rewrite of an entire two-thirds of the novel. Even now my goal is nowhere near complete because it’s taken me in a direction that required further world-building and complexity in plotting. I have a similar way of looking at my wordcount and breaking out of the NaNo mindset.

    • That sounds similar to the earlier attempts at edits on this piece. I began with “I’ll edit for X” and over 2-3 edit attempts, I realised a re-write with over half the material just removed (in fact that’s probably close to 2/3rds now) was the best course of action.
      Good luck!

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