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The Rewrite Chronicles

Some writers edit as they go and when they reach that last line they say they are done–until their publisher gets ahold of it anyway. Other writers write, go back to the beginning and edit their way through in an orderly fashion. Maybe they do this twice. Or three times. But they have a method and in the end they have a book. The rest of flail around in a tangle of words and eventually look up to find that those words have fallen into order in spite of our best laid trip wires and other efforts at sabotage.

How do you do get your words to fall into line all nice and straight and polished–without making them dull in the process?

Used to I would print out the unruly novel and take a pen to it, jabbing it here, striking it into submission there, and cutting bits off that were really recalcitrant. This time around I’m taking a different approach. Instead of writing between the lines and margins, I’m retyping the entire thing, word by word, until I get to the end. Madness may set in by page 100, or 22, but maybe it will make me look at every word and how it works in every scene, and in the end I’ll have the novel I envisioned long ago.

Got through page one last night. Whew. And woke up this morning dreaming of new titles. Lydia had pointed out that the title I had didn’t fit the novel I had. I knew that, but didn’t want to admit it. But the novel I wrote during NaNoWriMo left behind the title I started the month of November with, and it is time to put it behind us all together. It’s weird to wake up dreaming of words, just a long line of titles, rearranging themselves in my sleep, but obsession is full-time, after all.

And the new title is…?

4 thoughts on “The Rewrite Chronicles

  1. Thank-you for sharing this.
    It is something I’ve flailed about with myself.
    My difficulty is that I can tend to ruin my writing by over editing, until I’m left with a pile of blah. I like this idea of actually “re-writing” word by word. May just have to give it a try.

  2. I think your method has merit. Let us know how it goes as you move along in the pages.

    I’m the pen-in-the-margins type. I like to use the proofreading symbols I had to learn at some past point in my life. My favorite is the swooping and sweeping “delete” symbol.

    Title…I think those are the hardest things to write of all. Notice I have no titles on my blog posts.

    Keep on!

  3. I am in the middle (I hope end) of a bad cold, so I don’t know if I can think clearly enough to answer your question. I did all kinds of editing of with THE RIVER CHARMER. I’m still editing it! My problem with editing as I go along is that I tend to re-read the first part over and over and never get on to the last part, which is why the beginning of RC is good, but the rest of it is having trouble.

    With my new novel I’m forcing myself to write through to the end and then go back and read it. But I don’t know what method I’ll use once I get to that point.

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