I'm starting my rewrite of Devolutionaries today, and ideas are practically exploding out of me. I have a full novel critique coming up at the end of November, so I'm on a bit of a deadline, but I couldn't be more excited.
In the week since I finished the first draft, I've been thinking a lot about rewriting in general. I thought I'd share some of the things that have helped me get ready for mine.
1. First drafts suck. Rejoice in it. As Lynn Price says, first drafts are where you are telling yourself the story. Which is awesome! You just told yourself a wandering, weak-charactered, flabby-middled, lame-dialogued story from your own brilliant brain. Applaud yourself! Ask for applause from others, even! Not a lot of people can even get any kind of story from brain to paper. Therefore, you rock. Rejoice in it.
2. Let it wallow in suckiness. It's okay. Your first draft can stay sucky for a week. Even two, if you can manage it. I've said it before, I'm a big fan of letting your work sit. It provides an amazing amount of clarity once you go back to it. The last week as Devs has wallowed, I've had insights into what areas are really bad, and how to make them better. Write those ideas down, but let that draft sit!
3. Read something non-sucky. Go re-read your favorite book during your break. Or read a new book that you've been dying to open, but haven't had time for. Remind yourself what non-sucky writing is like. Also read Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass. Or any other writing how-to book. It'll remind you how to do those things you know you can!
4. Do something amazing with your life. That kind of sounds like a tall order, but you don't have to circumnavigate the globe while you're waiting to rewrite. Go do something fun. Something you love to do. Something you've never done. Just SOMETHING that involves you being away from your computer and involved with life. Remind yourself what life is about! You can write better about life if you're actually living it.
5. Crack those knuckles, baby. It's time! You've let it suck, let it sit, and reminded yourself what good literature and good life are all about. You're ready to tackle that draft with a billion brilliant ideas bursting from your brain. You can now take that sucky first draft you should be so proud of and turn it into something decidedly non-sucky that you can be even MORE proud of.
So wish me luck, my friends, I'm cracking my knuckles! I wish luck right back at you, whether on your rewrites or first draft!