Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Why you should rewrite parts of your book

On my blog under the title “Writing Fast” ( I talked about the misconception that a “real” author can only possibly produce one book per year. Some authors simply write faster than others. A book takes as long as it takes, be that a week, a month, a year, or a lifetime.
Now I want to talk about a few reasons why an author should consider rewriting a chunk of the book.

The reason why scenes or paragraphs need to be rewritten, is not because maybe you can do it better next time. That’s why you write another book! It’s to fix a problem – too many POV changes, inconsistencies, sagging middle, lack of tension, info dumps etc.
The reason to add scenes is when there is lack of connectivity between events, or when characters are not developing or act out of character. A character can act however they please, but there always must be a reason for them to act that way. The most shy, scaredy-cat heroine might be as brave as a lion if the villain threatens her best friend for example.

Some authors are linear. They commence writing at chapter one scene one and keep going until they reach the end. Others write scenes as they come to mind and stitch the book together later. There is no right or wrong way. But when a book is written over a long time span, or not in chronological order, the author does need to check that the actions flow and the characters develop along the way. Scenes may need to be moved or rewritten if a character loses a skill they’ve already used in the story, or “forgets” important facts or people.
That’s why it’s good to have a trusted critical friend read the book before sending it to an editor, a publisher, or self publishing it. A fresh eye can see things the author is too close to the story to notice.

Helen Woodall

Helen is available to line edit and/ or content edit fiction and non-fiction. Rates on application.

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