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The Art of Rewriting

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The Art of Rewriting

Postby Neurolanis » Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:36 am

I don't look at this as rewriting, as I really like my rough draft just the way it is. I just need to clear away some parts, reword some lines, change some minor details, and some mistakes (spelling and grammar I'll worry about afterward.) But the 'rewriting' stage, however you look at it, is very important. It is your 'second chance' in getting it right, to look over the brilliant sculpture you just created and chip away the excess, smooth the rough parts, and polish it down to make it ideally presentable to your public (of course it will be picked at by editors for your publisher and possibly agent beforehand as well.)

The Danger Zone: There is a flow in the way that I write, like a melody, which holds together all the many pieces of this strange and epic puzzle. Some pieces are meant to be eschew, others are that way and shouldn't be. But like pulling out a loose thread, you can unravel your fine tapestry of work if you are not careful. This rewriting phase which I am about to begin work on for the first time, on a book which is one of the most important things to me in the world, feels rather like stepping through a minefield; higher ground awaits, but I am cautious as I begin to step forward. There were so many insights into the madness of the writing as I wrote it, in that 'rough draft' state of mind, that now I can easily overlook to terrible result.

For example, a knight rides in a clumsy manner on his horse before he does battle, and as I read it, from a cynical perspective I decide this is flawed and I change it to a dignified gallop. Then the scene which follows seems bleak, like it is missing something, and when I look back I see that a moment of humour which showcases the knight's character added flare and reality to an otherwise bleak chapter. This never actually happened and it is the kind of thing I want to avoid. I see many weak parts that need to be clipped or reshaped, or built up, or dressed down, but along the way I must be careful not to over-polish my work of art, or the gloss will overshadow the art (like music so loud you can't hear it.)

I am very excited to get started. Does anyone here have any experience in rewriting, any tips or advice? Or is anyone in the same boat as me and care to talk about it?
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Postby Grand Evander » Fri Jan 05, 2007 11:10 pm

My advice is to be careful about getting caught up in the rewriting process. I look at revisions as an opportunity to ensure continuity and coherency in my writing, in addition to checking syntax. I never finish a piece... just choose to stop writing.
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Postby Neurolanis » Sat Jan 06, 2007 2:40 pm

That's pretty much my way of thinking, Evander. Straighten up any errors to ensure its continuity!
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Postby Grand Evander » Thu Jan 11, 2007 3:59 pm

Don't forget continuity includes character personalities and actions. You should make sure your characters don't do anything that would alienate the reader by seeming out of place or inappropriate for that character.
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Postby aldan » Thu Jan 11, 2007 5:31 pm

Good point, GE. All too often, it seems, authors, especially fantasy authors, have been doing such things to try to pull in a younger crowd. However, as you said, it tends to alienate them rather than pulling them in.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and to appear stupid than
to open it and remove all doubt."
---Mark Twain
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