You may have noticed that I’m not updating my word count bars (or you may not have. You may have better things to do than to check my word count bars!). The simple reason is that I am rewriting and find it too complex dicking around with existing word counts as opposed to rewrite word counts. Anyway, what has been interesting for me is not so much the word counts as the rewriting part. And it’s brought me face to face with the reason my revised full was rejected last year.
I didn’t rewrite enough.
What I tried to do was to put entirely new conflict into an existing plot structure. I went so far as to write new dialogue and even changed how a scene went. But what I should have done is REWRITE THE ENTIRE THING!
Yes indeedy folks, that would have been the answer. Why? Because with with new conflict, your character becomes a different person. And therefore they would have different responses. Which may mean some scenes are no longer relevant. If you have an existing plot structure, the temptation is to try and keep it, no matter that it may no longer work. And that’s when you run into problems because then you start trying to force the characters into behaving the way you want them to instead of how they actually would naturally.
Ah well, I guess that’s all part of the learning process. And the main thing is that I now have no qualms about starting from scratch. What I need to do is instead of putting new bits into the old, I need to start with a fresh slate and, if appropriate, but old bits into the new. It certainly has been working for me so far. I am rewriting another favourite ms of mine that will be my next sub and certainly starting afresh seems the best way to tackle it. That way you’re not trapped by the stuff you’ve already written. Starting it new leaves you wide open for all sorts of possibilities.
So how does everyone view rewrites? Is it a chance to make your story stronger? Or is it something that would give you nightmares?