The Re-Write: My Process

Hi, Everybody!

I hope your writing projects are going well! If you have finished your first draft, CONGRATULATIONS!! 😀

We’re almost at the end of our Re-Write Series. I hope the content has been helpful so far! Please don’t forget to leave comments letting me know what you think! My goal is to provide you with useful information, and I would love to know how I can best help you. If you have time, please let me know what you’re interested in reading.

I thought for the last post in this series, I’d share part of my personal rewriting process. It’s not the most organized one, but hopefully, it will help give you some ideas for your journey.

~*~

  1. First Draft: Just Write

When it comes to the first draft, I’ve found it best to write without paying too much attention to continuity or similar problems. As I’m writing the story in chronological order, I include any ideas I’ve received along the way. Once I’m done with that, I go back and edit during the rewrite.

2. Staying Organized: Keep it Simple

After finishing my first draft, I did my Retroactive Outline (which you can read about here) and then separated my chapters according to the Three-Act structure (mentioned here). I literally have folders on my computer labeled, ‘First Third,’ ‘Second Third,’ and ‘Last Third.’

3. Starting the Rewrite: Put it In Pieces

This bit continues from the second point. Personally, I find it easiest to work in pieces. That way, if I’m looking for a specific bit, I can search for it in the folder instead of clicking around looking for it. This was very helpful when it came to reorganizing events or information reveals.

4. During the Rewrite: Keep your New Outline Nearby

As I was writing, I kept my new outline nearby and checked off sections as I went. That way, I had a good idea of what I had already covered, as well as what I needed to go back and add. It helped me notice if anything was out of order or didn’t make sense with the flow of the story. Also, I could make notes on my outline for future edits, ensuring I get all the bits and pieces I missed.

5. During the Rewrite: Work Through One Section at A Time

Usually, I work through one folder at a time, in order. Admittedly, however, I skipped around a little bit information-wise. I’m definitely a checklist person, so skipping around got confusing. Having a pre-set plan for my pacing helped me keep track of where I was in my story.

6. During the Re-Write: Make Big Changes Now

After completing my first draft, I had an idea for a better ending that added a new layer of complexity to my story and characters. So, as I was rewriting, I went back and changed the ending and the corresponding pieces. Naturally, it’s easiest to make big changes as you’re going through your manuscript chronologically. That way, nothing gets confused or put in the wrong place.

7. During the Re-Write: What to Do If You Get Confused

Here are a few little tips on how to handle the madness of reorganizing your manuscript.

  • Keep Your Outline Handy
    It definitely helps! Plus, reworking your outline is WAY easier than rearranging your entire story.
  • If You’re Using Microsoft, Use Note Book Layout
    That way, you can label tabs and separate ideas according to time, place or character. Honestly, I’m considering moving my Character Profiles to a Note Book file, instead of keeping it in the ginormous binder I carry around everywhere. It would be SO much easier.
  • Utilize Lists
    I know not everyone is a ‘list person’ like me, but sometimes it does help to be able to check things off as you go. That way, you won’t be going back and forth trying to remember what you’ve already worked on. For me, that means remembering if I added that random-but-important detail in Act Two. Or if I changed a character’s reaction to fit better with their story arch. Without having to worry about the little things, you can direct your energy toward working on the quality of your manuscript’s flow.
  • When in Doubt, Read Out Loud
    This is a well-known bit of advice. When it comes to dialogue, read it out loud to hear how it sounds when spoken.
  • Don’t Quit
    No matter how confusing it gets, keep going! Soldier through this part – it gets better from here on out! After this, you’ll be on your first edit, changing any big details that got left out during your rewrite. Edits usually get smaller and smaller from there. Believe me, you got this! 😃

~*~

This blogging experience has been amazing, and writing my first novel is definitely a blessing. I’m so happy to share what I’m learning with all of you! I wish you all the best as you go through your edits! The next series will be on editing your second draft. Please let me know what you think about these articles: I really want to post content you all enjoy!

Chase those authorly dreams!

-Grace

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