I know there are as many ways to rewrite as there are to write. This means at least as many as there are writers. When I finished the first draft of Far From the Sea I knew there were some plot issues. There were sequences that didn't make sense, missing bridges and no concept of the passage of time. None of my other projects made it past the first draft so it was with great trepidation that I faced the necessity of doing rewrites.
As I have read through the ms I have come across a few (ok a lot) of scenes with unnatural conversation, common descriptions, bad metaphors and poor craft in general. At first I wanted to stop and correct, rewrite, and polish each word but it just wasn't possible. I decided that for this pass through I would focus solely on plot. I wanted to be able to feel the flow of the story without being hung up on whether it should be "a" or "the". Best decision of my life. (Other than marriage and family, of course, and getting an education, ordering pizza rather than cooking tonight….All right, best writing decision of my life.)
While at times it has been completely depressing to see in my minds eyes the line of scenes waiting to be edited which seemed to stretch into infinity, mostly it has been liberating. I don’t feel so overwhelmed since I only have to worry about one aspect of the novel. I know I can get the other stuff later. I'll make as many revisions as I need. One step at a time.
How do you rewrite? Do you do everything at once, or make several passes? Or do you actually know what you're doing when you start so there isn't much need for rewriting?