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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Weekly Writing Recap

Major Revision/Rewrite of Inspirational Historical #3
Status: 42,000 words out of 100,000

Words added/rewritten this week: 7,000

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I've reached the point where I'm able to begin using some of the material from my earlier rewrite of this story. I'd hoped I might find scenes or even entire chapters I could just drop in.

Alas, that is not the case.

I performed the first rewrite of this story 18 months ago, before I'd crawled out of my cave, met other writers, joined writing groups and attended conferences. I'd read a handful of books on craft, but I had so much to learn. (And am still learning.)

I'm having to cut much of what I'd written before and just use the ideas. When I can salvage a line, I have to rewrite it.

Back then, I didn't have a very good idea of what was meant by showing versus telling. There was little in the way of sensory detail, so I'm adding that. And I have to be careful to remove those portions that no longer jive with the new beginning and much-improved goals and motivations.

I've heard it's easier to write a book than to rewrite one, and I've come to understand why. However, I love the characters in this book. With the new beginning my hubby helped me devise, the story is far better than it was.

And I like revising and editing almost as much as writing a first draft, so I'm having lots of fun.

• • • • •

Have you ever rewritten a book from start to finish or added a totally new beginning that forced you to make major changes throughout the story? If so, how did you go about the task?

What do you think of the counsel often given newer writers to start a new story rather than rewriting a previous one?

7 comments:

Jessica said...

No, I've never rewritten from start to finish.
I think I need to keep an eye on your revisions and try to use them to get me to finish mine. You know, a competitive thing. LOL Go you! You've done so much!!! :-)

I'm still learning the showing vs telling thing. Sigh.

Keli Gwyn said...

Jessica,

Showing vs telling is hard, isn't it? No matter how many times I rework a scene, I can find places where I could do a better job of showing.

I've learned, though, there are times for telling. Sometimes a line or two of exposition can recap what would be a bland but necessary scene if shown and move the story forward to a place where things get exciting again.

I hope your revision is going well and that you're happy with the direction your story is taking.

Jill Kemerer said...

Good luck. I've found the same things to be true in my writing. For some reason, I heard the phrase "showing vs. telling" for a full year before it finally sank in.

I'm going to attempt a rewrite this fall. It will be tough, but I know I'll learn a lot from the experience.

Enjoy!

sherrinda said...

Your task sounds daunting, Keli! I cannot imagine a total rewrite. Seriously, I think I would probably have to give up and start a new project with the knowledge I've gained from writing this first one! ;)

Keli Gwyn said...

Jill,

I think showing vs. telling is a concept that takes time for many of us to understand. I read blog posts about it and heard workshop speakers talk about it for a couple of years before I really began to get it.

All the best to you as you begin your rewrite. No doubt you'll learn about yourself and your writing by going through the process. I sure have.

Keli Gwyn said...

Sherrinda,

The hardest part about the rewrite is being humbled. When I completed the previous rewrite of this story and proudly submitted it to an agent who very nicely declined, I couldn't understand why. I loved my story and my characters and thought my writing was wonderful.

Well, I've learned a great deal in the ensuing eighteen months. I look at the earlier manuscript now and cringe to think I actually sent it out into the world for a publishing professional to see. It wasn't ready.

However, I see promise in the story and characters and am unwilling to give up on it. I've done that with a contemporary I wrote last year, so I know when to set something aside--and how painful that can be. But this story is changing into something I'm not embarrassed to let my CPs see. And I'm having such fun working on it that I feel I'm back on the right track.

sherrinda said...

Ah, Keli, how awesome to feel like you are "getting it right" with this current rewrite. My prayer is that as I continue this writing journey, I will keep learning and know when to set it aside and when to dig in and work to make it great! You are such a great example and I love hearing your journey!