In Need of Athelas or a Salve to Help With the Bloody Process of Rewriting

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions In Need of Athelas or a Salve to Help With the Bloody Process of Rewriting


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    Mae govannan, I have a question. This is probably a dumb question, seeing as I have been ploughing through with determination, but I am wondering what everybody else’s take on this is:


    So, when I was 14 I started a book that has stuck with me through thick and thin for three years, and it is now close to 200,000. I know, I’m working on cutting down the word count. So, in the midst of it, I decided to change a lot, and I mean a lot. The whole history, system and all that (I write fantasy BTW), everything is changing. So, with 14/15/16 year old writing that doesn’t fit anymore, I am doing the bloody work of rewriting. My idea has been to cut and paste the old sections into a new document and then rewrite. It did not help that in the midst of this, my computer went swimming and I lost quite a bit of information, but thankfully not my books. I tend to feel horrible after rewriting. It just is an awful, disconnected, chop and hack experience sort of. I just wondered if anyone had any tips for rewriting a book that is close to 20,000 words more thanĀ The Fellowship of the Ring. Thanks!

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!


    @ericawordsmith Well it took me 5 years on and off for 45,000 when I was eight, so you have that going for you. 200,000 words…dang.

    What I would do in such a situation, with such a large manuscript, is to take everything I know about the book, and separate it into categories: worldbuilding, characters and characterization, theme, and plot. If you have 200k words I would assume you have plenty of all of them. Then I would basically fix anything that doesn’t fit together in the four categories and make sure everything works together harmoniously, practically rewriting the outline if you plan on changing history and world rules, and then I would rewrite the work. I would also take scenes I definitely want to keep and put them in a separate doc for later, along with anything else I want to keep. I would, with such a long document, try to keep as much of the original as possible to save work. But depending on how much you intend on changing, it may be quite a torturous process…I am all too familiar with rewriting whole novels. But I’ve never dealt with anything near that long, so my method may or may not work here. I find K.M. Weiland’s method of outlining extremely helpful to avoid rewrites in the future:

    How to Outline Your Novel

    I hope I helped somehow (and congrats again on 200k words…wow)!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by Samuel.

    No one reads these anyway


    Thanks, Samuel! I’m going to have to try that, at least to an extent. I was doing some of those things sort of with my old laptop, figuring out all sorts of crazy details and organizing them in an Exel file. Quite a bit of work, and then the whole water incident happened with the computer so… But I really like the idea of categorizing!

    Tek an ohta! Tek an cala!

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