Getting Ready for Rewrites

Oct 4, 2010

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!

11 comments:

michelle said...

And NOW you've got me wanting to do my revision. Ugh! I'm so into that other WIP, I don't want to switch :) Good luck to you!

Colene Murphy said...

awesome! Good luck! I'm with Michelle, you make me want to get back to work NOW.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Attack! You can do it.

Meredith said...

I love this advice! It's always so disheartening when I feel like my first draft sucks--this post makes me feel so much better!

David P. King said...

That's exactly my process! You and I have incredible similarities as writers. Most excellent. Get that draft going before November and let me know how it goes. It's exciting!

Sandy Shin said...

I love all these advice -- and will definitely keep them in mind when writing and waiting to revise. :)

Good luck with revisions!

Michelle said...

G'luck! Know you can do it!

Janet Johnson said...

Some excellent suggestions! Good luck on your rewrite. :)

Lisa Gail Green said...

Great advice!! I just finished one, and I'm going to let it sit while I catch up on everything else..

Jolene Perry said...

I'm glad someone else gives us all license to be sucky on try number one. I'm always amazed when I read back over what I've written - how did THAT slip in there?

Christina Lee said...

good advice. I can't wait to finish this first draft beast (and get to revisions)!

 
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