Monday, October 22, 2012

Rewrite

I found these two quotes on writing. I read them on someone's blog but I can't remember who, so if it was you let me know and I'll link over there.



Michael Crichton wrote, “Books aren’t written–they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

James A. Michener once said, “I have never thought of myself as a good writer. Anyone who wants reassurance of that should read one of my first drafts. But I’m one of the world’s great rewriters.”

I especially loved the line "It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn't quite done it."   I've been working on my novel for three years and done well more than seven edits.  It is worth it though. Even if I never get more than a form rejection (Please let me get more than a form rejection) I've learned so much about the writing process.  I've learned how to rewrite and even how to enjoy it. Rewriting really is the only way to grow as a writer.  Drafting novel after imperfect novel will only teach how to continue in imperfection.  Rewriting is where the hard work, and therefore the joy of accomplishment is. 

What have you learned from rewriting?

39 comments:

  1. "Rewriting is where the hard work, and therefore the joy of accomplishment is."

    I have finally learned to embrace rewriting, Sara. And I am coming up on my fourth year on the same manuscript. I have written other stuff in between, but I keep going back to manuscript #1. I just can't give up on it. :)

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    1. I've started a few other projects but this one has priority. At least until it sells or I decide it's queried out.

      Good luck with yours. Don't give up if it still feels right.

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  2. I'm a much better rewriter than a writer, no secret there. putting the initial words on paper is always hardest for me. But once they're there, I can tinker and play with it and make it better. :)

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    1. How interesting. I can't imagine drafting being harder than rewriting but I guess we're all different.

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  3. I bet I did 22 rewrites of my first book. Ten of my second. It's getting shorter. I'm taking my time with this newest book, and have so far done 3 drafts without finishing it yet. Ooh, not good.

    That's because rewriting is my favourite part!
    Hi Sara!

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    1. I'm finding a few that like rewriting better. I have learned to love rewriting but I still think drafting is a rush. I'm hoping my number of drafts drop with each novel, but I guess each one will take just as long as it needs and, if we keep challenging ourselves they won't really be getting easier.

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  4. I once blogged about how I didn't enjoy revising but knew it was necessary. More recently I blogged about how I've grown to love revising--because it's the only way to make that thing we've written any good. :-)

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    1. Exactly! If you don't love it, you need to learn to.

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  5. Thanks, Sara. Your blog is extremely appropriate for me right now. I am presently working on edits for my fourth revision. I thought I was nearing the end of my journey with my WIP. However, while attending a writers' retreat this past weekend, I realized I have more "layering" to do to give my manuscript the best chance possible. Your comments about learning through rewriting are spot on!

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    1. I'm in the same boat. I want to be done with this but I keep getting the feeling I need to fix something. It would be a lot easier if I knew what though. Good luck with your WIP

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  6. That's why they say practice makes perfect. Well, we'll never feel it's perfect, but we will get better.

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  7. They say writing a book has a least 5 steps--writing, rewriting, rewriting, rewriting, and rewriting. ; )

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    1. Yea, I have a few more steps than that. :)

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  8. Some days I can deal with the rewrites...and then there are some day when I LOVE rewriting. And then other days when I just want to build a big fire....

    Rewriting: I'm still learning.

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    1. LOL! I think we'll always be learning. Writing is a journey, not a destination.

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  9. You know, I often think of ways to rewrite books I've already put down and moved on from. This makes me think I should go after that. I want to rewrite one book so my protagonist is the antagonist. ;)

    I usually end up getting to "version 3" of a book before shipping it out... don't think I've ever revised more than that :O

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    1. Maybe someday I'll be good enough to get it done in three drafts.

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  10. Hey, Sara. I admire your dedication over the last three years. It says everything.

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    1. Thanks. Of course I hope this dedication has paid off and made something sell-able.

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  11. I actually really enjoy the rewriting process way more than drafting. I think once I have actual words written on the page I can really work well from there.

    I love those quotes, so thanks for sharing them :)

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    1. Huh, that's so weird for me. I do enjoy rewriting but it is definitely a lot harder than drafting.

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  12. Nice post. I have learned I am a writer maturing into a someday-to-be- published author.

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  13. I've learned more from rewriting than I ever have from writing a first draft. Sometimes it can be hard to remember how needed rewrites and edits are, though! Hm, think I'll print out those quotes. They'd be nice to have around when feeling discouraged.

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    1. It can be discouraging but the things that test us the most give us the most growth.

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  14. I'm still learning plenty! I started out hating the revisions, but now I understand how necessary they are to the process. My story is still evolving but I hope you get more than a form letter too :)

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  15. Oh my gosh... love this...

    I've learned that success comes from rewriting... that you can't be afraid to scrap, delete, and try again... it's a scary thing to do... but rewriting is the key to really nailing it... or at least taking a step closer to nailing it... and there are sooooooo many steps...

    REALLY loved this post, Sara! <3

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    1. Thanks!

      There are a lot of steps and it can be scary but also very rewarding.

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  16. I still have lots to learn... a long way to go... but from the comments, I realise that re-writing over and over again, is an integral part of the process.
    I can live with that.
    Great post!!

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    1. We all have a long way to go, and unfortuantly the best way to learn is trial and error and, occasionally, getting it right.

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  17. I've thought far too much on this since reading your post yesterday. You may receive an email soon... :)

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    1. Lol, sorry to make you think. I'm always open to email.

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  18. Whenever I write, I'm grateful for the miracle of re-writing.

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    1. Imagine what novels would be if we couldn't rewrite?

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  19. Man, this is SOO true. I'm on my seventh or so rewrite of one of my books and I know it probably won't be the last. But each one brings it close to being good. ;)

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    1. Each one does bring it closer. We just have to remember that.

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  20. I have to say, it does get easier with each story. I know some of the worst mistakes I make, and it's easier to catch them now. I hope I'm improving!

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