Rewriting Brave Young Boys

First TimeRewriting. This is a word I have come to dread, but unfortunately one I cannot avoid. Last year I finished my first round edits of my novel, Brave Young Boys. I was so happy. Not only had I written a novel, but I’d also edited it! However, my celebration quickly ended as reality came crashing down on my head. Now I was editing, I had to {dramatic pause} rewrite!

Now, this doesn’t sound all that difficult or like a reason for a dramatic pause. However, this art of the novel writing process has filled me with so much dread that Brave Young Boys has sat on my desk, untouched, for moths. But why? What on Earth is so bad about rewriting that I had temporarily abandoned my novel?

Well, at first it was that I didn’t know where to start. Once I was done editing, I was suddenly left with this story I had written and then torn to shreds while editing. There were plot holes, character names to change, characters to possibly eliminate, major timeline issues, and so many new scenes to write. I was staring at those pages covered in highlighter and sticky notes and it was completely overwhelming.

But I pushed forward anyway. I actually managed to get through the first two and a half chapters before hitting a wall. I was blocked, no clue what to do, and had all these questions in my mind.

Should I rewrite certain parts first?
Should I focus on certain changes first?
Should I be rewriting the whole thing?
Should I just change what needs to be changes?

Should I, should I, should I. So many questions! And there I was with no answers. So I put it aside. I focused on my 2014 NaNo novel, blog posts, fanfiction writing. I knew if I kept trying to rewrite while I was frustrated and confused then the rewrite would probably turn out worse than the original. So I stepped back, did some research, got some perspective and had a much better idea of what to do when I returned to it.

Start with the big stuff: writing new scenes, deciding if all characters are needed, and fixing the timeline so everything makes sense. Then, fix things like plot holes, rewriting them so they make sense. Finally, focus on the smaller things: punctuation, grammar, and spelling, and changing/fixing the names of characters. If any of what I’ve read is true, not only will this make rewriting easier and more organized, but I won’t feel so stressed out about the whole process.

How do you go about rewriting? Do you have any tips for others?

 

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