Most authors think the creating, not the rewriting, is rewarding. The question then becomes, “Rewarding to whom?” Creating may be more rewarding to the author, but it’s the rewriting that rewards the reader.
Decide which of these three rewriting options works best for you, then use it. You may try all three, but most authors typically settle on one as the most effective.
- Write the original draft as quickly as possible and don’t stop until you’re done. You may end up with a mess, but you know who the characters are and what happens in your story.
- Write one scene or chapter at a time. Revise that part of your work until you’re happy with it, then move on.
- Rewrite constantly. When you choose this option, you write and rewrite at the same time. The piece is finished when you’re done.
When you rewrite, there are three things you want to watch out for.
- Plot. In a separate document, write down your plot summary, then ask these questions:
- Do events occur logically?
- Is what happens coherent?
- Why is each event included?
- Is anything missing from what happens?
- Does anything happen that doesn’t add to the story?
- Does everything that happens make sense to the reader?
- Character. In a separate document, write a description of each of your major characters, then ask these questions:
- How does dialogue fit what’s going on with the characters?
- Are your characters making appropriate gestures for their personalities?
- How do memories impact the actions of each character?
- Have you repeated descriptions of the characters (you only need a physical description once)?
- Have you given your reader enough insight into your characters?
- Do the events fit the characters participating in them?
- Details/language. Make sure you’re giving your reader enough details to help the reader create images to see what’s going on, then ask ask these questions:
- Are your details vague or flabby, or do they offer enough detail to create mental images?
- Is there a better word choice to show your reader what you see when you write the scene? Examples are: tossed versus threw, watched versus observed, smiled versus grinned, frowned versus scowled.
- Do you include enough details? For example, you can describe something as fancy or frilly, or you can offer more detail and describe something as decorated with lace.
Rewriting is a lot of work, but you have options. See which one works for you. Happy writing!