Sunday, April 25, 2010

Writing is Rewriting

"Writing is rewriting. A writer must learn to deepen characters, trim writing, intensify scenes. To fall in love with a first draft to the point where one cannot change it is to greatly enhance the prospects of never publishing." ~Richard North Patterson

and

"Books aren't written--they're rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it." ~Michael Crichton


Um, yes. That's really all I have to say today.


Do you want to have your work published someday? Does your story need another rewrite? Mine does.

32 comments:

Empress Awesome said...

I just finished a rewrite, and I'm not going to look at it again for another week! Mostly because I have final exams to worry about, but also because I'm a perfectionist and it'll make me crazy!

Aubrie said...

Ug! I hate rewrites, but they do make my story better. In each rewrite I deepen the characters and tie the scenes more together.

Great quotes!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

I spent the last two days reading through my entire manuscript for the first time (as a whole). It exhausted me but it also pleased me. I had feared to find great, yawning holes and tons of nonsense, but instead I found fixable things and a pretty decent read. Now I'm excited to go back and do the revisions, knowing that it's not a disaster, just a fixer-upper.
I love those quotes! It's good to know everybody faces this.

TerryLynnJohnson said...

ah yes! Wise quotes and good to remember!

Amy Jo Lavin said...

Great quotes. I'm the type of writer revises along the way (I just can't seem to silence my inner editor), but I still have lots of revision to do on my completed manuscript. Sometimes I think that revision never ends!

Sydnee said...

Truer words were never spoken. I can relate to those authors who are reluctant to cut/revise a scene or character that is dear to them... but I've never refused to fix something because of sentimental reasons. If it sucks, it sucks. Even if it hurts, my novel will be better for it!

And to be perfectly honest, I hate everything I write on the first draft. It's only after many revisions and research that I come to realize the true potential of the work.

Anna said...

Very, very true. Sometimes the last thing I want to do is rewrite, but it's oh so very necessary!

Stephanie Thornton said...

I think the percentage of time used to write a first draft is close to the 20-25% mark. The rest is all rewriting. Over and over and over. And over.

Laura Marcella said...

Oh, yes, absolutely! My final draft never resembles the first draft!

Jennifer Shirk said...

I'm only three chapters into my first draft and I already see a major rewrite that will happen. But I am determined to go forward and then edit later.

Jemi Fraser said...

Mine too!

laurel said...

This is actually really encouraging. I've had times in the past of beating myself up for "not getting it right" the first time. Frankly no one does. Rewrites are just a normal part of the process.

Sandy Shin said...

Those quotes are what enable me to write first drafts without going insane with perfectionism. :)

Vonna said...

The last rewrite was a doozie. But that which doesn't kill us makes us stronger. Right?

Jackee said...

I rewrite and rewrite until I'm so sick of the darn thing I can't stand the thought of it. But that is my cue to send them out into the world and after a few weeks, I love them again. Kind of like a teenager that goes off to college.

Love your blog, Natalie! :o)

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

Couldn't agree more.

In fact, I will continue to re-write until my novel is published. I live in hope :)

Anissa said...

GREAT quotes! I can so relate, as I rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite. Keep at it!

VR Barkowski said...

Yes, rewriting will never end until my ms is published. Each edit is an opportunity to hone, refine and deepen. I love editing, for me it's the creative part of writing - where characters come alive, conflicts are intensified, and my voice takes root.

Valerie Wangnet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, awesome quotes Natalie! Mine def. needs work, but what constitutes a rewrite? I don't usually change my plot lines, just clarify and tweak them...Hopefully I'm doing this thing right. LOL

Sarah Forgrave said...

Great quotes! I rewrote some plot elements of my story a few weeks ago, and now I'm in serious self-edit mode. Not sure if those are the same, but it's a never-ending process either way! :-)

Lisa said...

Totally. Man, is this ever true. And I didn't realize it when I first started writing seriously. I thought two or three drafts should do it. Um, no. That's not how I work. Writing is rewriting and rewriting and rewriting and rewriting. I think seven drafts is more my speed.

Marybeth Poppins said...

I'm in the middle of my own rewrite. And I'm loving it. It's 10x better than the original. I can only imagine how awesome it would be after an editor got their hands on it.

I hope your rewrite is going well!!!

Renee Collins said...

Ah yes. *sigh* I finished the first draft of my WiP a week ago. And the party's over. Time to get back to work. :)

Jamie D. said...

Bah humbug.

And yes, I'm in the middle of a rewrite myself. *sigh*

Heather Sunseri said...

I love those quotes. I'm a big believer in rewriting is where the real story is created. And I've been doing a lot of it lately.

Patti said...

I keep learning this lesson over and over again.

DL Hammons said...

Thanks for that depressing gem! j/k :) It's just the facts of life for writers.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

I've spent the morning working through CAN'T BREAK US once again. Wondering what you would think...

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm doing it now:) UGH. Not a whole lot of fun.

L.T. Elliot said...

I've heard that all great writing is really just re-writing. You're not alone.

Wen Prior said...

Natalie, you made my day with this, and the comment you left on my blog :) You made me realize that the extra effort when I thought I was done already IS worth it. Thank you :D

That's the brilliant thing about writer's blogs. Every time you come up against something that makes you want to go hide in a corner somewhere, some one says just exactly the thing you need to hear. You're my hero today, Natalie!