Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Learning How to Rewrite

As I've mentioned before, I'm working on a couple of short stories. Part of the process of making them good is that I'm changing how I revise.

My "normal" method for revision is to sift through sentence by sentence and rewrite the ones that simply aren't working. But I'm embracing the idea of writing a crummy draft and revising it later, which leaves me with fewer and fewer sentences that can simply be polished.

This means that I'm actually having to REWRITE some of what I wrote the first time around. In the past, this felt like a daunting, overwhelming, and inconvenient task. There was no really efficient way to get it done. Now that I'm using Scrivener, though, I can take advantage of the split screen option, read one document (set below the document I'm working on because that's how I prefer to work), and actually write in a NEW document.

This may not sound revolutionary to everyone, but it's been a huge help to me. I just rewrote a short story that started out going the way I wanted it to, then took a wild curve. I embraced that curve in the rewrites and kept some of the descriptions I liked, but basically wrote a new story for everything else.

I find it fascinating and very encouraging to see that I'm still learning new things. I haven't stagnated, though I felt like it for a while, and I'm making better stories, I think, as a result of trying to learn new methods.

What about you? How do you rewrite and revise?

Giles is a writer. A man with a plan to get published. That means he has to learn and grow in his craft. It's a long, sometimes painful process, but he's making it step by step.

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