Sunday, January 1, 2012

Why a Blog on Rewriting

The other night I was at Friday's restaurant, enjoying happy hour dollar off cocktails and half off appetizers, in celebration of a promotion at my day job with a writer friend of mine. So of course, the subject inevitably led to writing.

We'd met during Nanowrimo, and being as it was the end of December, we were both talking about what we were going to do with our Nano Novels over the next year.

Two years ago I promised myself that in three years I would have a completed manuscript so I could start really looking into getting published. Instead, I've written three first drafts and done absolutely nothing with them. Well, nothing of use. Until about a week ago.

I started reading through my 2011 Nanowrimo Novel. My first step to actual revision.

I was so proud that I've actually managed to start revising a project, that it got us on to the epic discussion of revision.

And the epic lack of materials about revision.

I mean, if I want to write a first draft, there are endless books and general truths out there regarding it. If I'm looking for publishing information, well, there's oodles out there too, as well as even more general truths about how to do it. If I'm looking for tips about writing in general, there's even more on that!

But if looking for something in between, that magic way to get from first draft to something ready to submit to an agent, the horizon is surprisingly quiet. Is everyone afraid to talk about that next step? Is it because it's hard to define, or because we're afraid as writers that if we release that secret, we'll only add more competition?

The subject of revision seems to be this: it's what you do after your first draft, what you need to do before you publish, and completely different for everyone.

Somehow I doubt that.

I mean, there is some really good advice out there regarding writing that first draft like, write all the way through. Kind of a general truth there. Or you know, working out how a story is structured with a little outlining work. But when we get to the finished the draft, now what? stage, everyone gets silent. I mean, there has to be some universal truths out there that can at least help me get on the right path with this.

But everything I read just seems to gloss over it (or be a companion manual to a drafting book that if I didn't follow the drafting process doesn't make sense because I didn't fill out form A).

Well, it's a new year, and I'm going to make a resolution to write about my revision experience so that others like me might have some guidelines to follow. And it might keep me on the revision train. I'll talk about what I'm doing, what's working, and what's not working.

I can't guarantee that I'll be regular with this blog, because well, rewriting isn't the most scheduled thing. Still, I welcome all writers, of all genres, shapes, and sizes to follow along, question, and comment during my next year of revision. I want to make this a learning experience for everyone.


  1. Personally, I think that there is so little info out there about the rewrite because it's so subjective to a writers style. I usually hand out copies of my rough draft and have three others help me with the rewrite... one for plot holes I missed, one for grammar, and one for punctuation and spelling errors. They take notes for me, and then I hit the rewrite from there.

  2. Wow, that sounds like a later step for me. I plan on having other read it once I have it to a point where I think it needs another insight. I'm not even ready for anyone to be reading my stuff yet.

    And I do believe it's really subjective, but so is writing the first draft. Some people meticuliously outline, others "seat-it," others spend years working fifteen minutes every day...