'Books are not written, they are rewritten' - the 2013 revising and editing thread

(381 Posts)
TunipTheVegedude Thu 10-Jan-13 09:17:45

Anyone who already has a draft (NaNo veterans and others?) want to join me for a rewriting thread?

I am working on my draft from NaNoWriMo 2012.

I've never successfully edited a novel before - I've written first drafts and attempted to edit them but never managed to either be ruthless enough, or to really understand what I had to do. This time is different because it's clear that it needs very major work at all levels; the NaNo draft feels like a zero draft rather than a first draft. I've been reading 'how to write' stuff manically over the last month (something I've never really done before) and have a lot to go on. Starting by plotting it again from the ground up, then will work through scene by scene using relevant bits from my first draft but basically starting with a blank page, which I hope means I will not be too attached to any of my previous words. My target for Easter is to get it to a stage where other people can read it and tell me how to change it so I can write it all over again smile

TunipTheVegedude Mon 28-Jan-13 17:03:59

Yay BsshBossh! I'm so glad Mantel's 10 minutes worked for you.

I also love the bit about solving the day's problems. When I started writing, if I ran up against problems I assumed it was because I wasn't good enough, or the thing I was writing wasn't going to work out. It makes it very easy to give up. Whereas if you see the writing as a process of solving a succession of problems in order to arrive at the thing you want, nothing feels insurmountable.

What are you going to do when you finish editing the third character?

I've been setting myself targets on Scrivener today. I'm a bit loath to get too obsessed with word count in case I rush too much and end up writing another version that is different but not necessarily much better than the first, but equally I've got a lot of gaps to fill in where I've taken bits out of the first draft so some of it is actually a first attempt at particular scenes.

I did just over 2000 words today (bringing me up to 13500).

BsshBossh Mon 28-Jan-13 18:14:18

What are you going to do when you finish editing the third character? I'm going to run through the entire novel as a whole once more. It may be the final draft... but we'll see. My DH is my beta reader - he reads loads of literary fiction eg Michael Chabon, Zadie Smith, Paul Auster - and is quite critical and objective. So he'll read the next draft and then I'll decide whether to submit to an agent...

TunipTheVegedude Tue 29-Jan-13 10:29:09

How is everyone?

Today my project is feeling quixotic.
Should have done something easier, it's going to take about a million drafts to get right!
Oh well <carries on>.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 29-Jan-13 10:32:52

BsshBossh - v handy that your dh reads the genre you are writing in. Mine doesn't but luckily I have lots of friends who do. YA has changed so much in the last 20 years.

BsshBossh Tue 29-Jan-13 13:13:50

Another 2 hours editing work completed today - 4 scenes down, 55 to go. I could have done another hour to be honest, but faffed around with... oh you know: sleep, childcare, work - the usual impediments to creativity grin.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 29-Jan-13 17:10:44

I've done 1000 words (rewrote a scene 3 times).

BsshBossh Tue 29-Jan-13 17:12:09

Well done Tunip.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 29-Jan-13 17:14:16

Thank you smile
After the second time I had to watch the Meg Rosoff 'secret of successful writing' animation for motivation.

Sounds like you are getting into yours - only 2 more scenes and it will be over 10%!

BsshBossh Tue 29-Jan-13 23:59:18

10% - I like that smile

BsshBossh Wed 30-Jan-13 12:30:07

Only one scene edited today (so 54 to go). Got totally distracted by a diet thread on Mumsnet and now have to work. Grrrrr, why is Mumsnet so addictive and distracting!

TunipTheVegedude Wed 30-Jan-13 15:13:36

I've been lucky, ds2 got whisked off on an impromptu playdate so I've had an extra 3 hours.

I've done 2000 today (nearly at 18000). One scene I was rewriting mysteriously changed from being all serious and earnest in the first version, to the characters shrieking with laughter in the new version. This rewriting business is most peculiar.

BsshBossh Thu 31-Jan-13 11:42:52

Good work Tunip and what a lucky break re DS's playdate. I love how your scene changed tone from serious to fun smile

Well work beckons today and tomorrow so I doubt any editing will get done now. So I will say goodbye and see you on Monday!

TunipTheVegedude Thu 31-Jan-13 21:42:15

Hope you have a good weekend.
I'm on 20k now.

TunipTheVegedude Fri 01-Feb-13 14:29:08

I'm onto Act 2! This means that Act 1 is 23k instead of the 15-20 it should be, but I daresay cutting between 3 and 8k words will only improve it.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 04-Feb-13 12:31:26

I'm struggling to write today. Had to take the whole weekend off because dh away, and finding it hard to get back into it.

Anyone else have progress reports?

BsshBossh Mon 04-Feb-13 14:28:38

14 scenes edited today. I must have recharged my editing batteries after all those days off.

You'll get back in the saddle again, Tunip.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 04-Feb-13 14:33:38

Yay! That is mega progress.

I've done 500 words now. Not great but not nothing either.

BsshBossh Mon 04-Feb-13 16:35:27

500 is definitely better than 0 so good work!

BsshBossh Tue 05-Feb-13 14:39:57

Hiya. Only three scenes edited today but one of those involved a lot of rewriting so I'm happy with what I achieved today.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 05-Feb-13 19:57:27

Well done!

It perked up a bit after I posted yesterday. Not much time today but I used it fairly well - am on 27k now smile

BsshBossh Wed 06-Feb-13 13:42:39

Four scenes edited today - one of them requiring extra research and rewriting, so once again am happy. I write in the morning after DD goes to school and before other things get in the way but I need to get into the habit of writing after she goes to bed too. It's not even that I'm tired by then. I spend too much time on Mumsnet I'm afraid!

Anyway, well done Tunip on the 27K.

Is it just you and me here? Any lurkers willing to come out and say Hi?!

TunipTheVegedude Wed 06-Feb-13 14:48:01

Well done on your 4 scenes!

I do find it helps a lot if I write in the evenings too. It's not just the extra time in the evening, it's that it makes it easier to get into it the next morning.

I've reached 30k, which I am counting as halfway, so feeling quite celebratory.

<waves to lurkers in the hope they haven't already been bored to death by all the wordcount posts>

BsshBossh Thu 07-Feb-13 14:30:30

Hey, I've reached halfway point (today) too smile Four more scenes completed today. I am on target to complete this draft (no. 5) in two weeks.

Next steps will be to then 1. Re-read entire novel (again!) 2. Actually complete the last two chapters (still half-written through all 5 drafts in case anything in the novel changed).

TunipTheVegedude Thu 07-Feb-13 14:44:49

Brilliant, well done!
I did about 800 words this morning then encountered a plot problem. I've telescoped events in the first draft together to make it more exciting, but this means that someone goes to London, gets tried for treason and comes back again in the space of a few days, which is not really on in 1537 blush
I'm now weighing up the various options for what to do with my heroine while this is happening.

BsshBossh Fri 08-Feb-13 11:32:30

Hi Tunip, your plot digression sounds exciting! No editing work for me now until next week as real life beckons smile Have a good weekend and see you on Monday.

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