Starting over?

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Aimée
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Starting over?

Post by Aimée » December 21st, 2010, 8:00 pm

I'm curious. How many of you here have done a complete rewrite? I got stuck in my WIP twice, and I've been thinking of scratching the outline and everything then just starting over. I took some time of the story, and that helped for a while, but then I got stuck again. I know the problem is that I have too many moving parts in the story, and it needs a bit of simplifying. So I was just wondering if any of you have ever done that before. Got stuck, tossed everything, and started over on the same story? And how did you feel about doing a complete rewrite?

Sommer Leigh
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Re: Starting over?

Post by Sommer Leigh » December 21st, 2010, 8:22 pm

I scrapped my current WIP after the first draft and started over. I saved bits and pieces, character stuff, but it was almost entirely different the second time around. And better too, I think.

It was horrible, but also wonderful. It was scary, but important. What came out of the rewrite was 100x better than the first. So yes, it is scary, but sometimes necessary. Sometimes our first ideas aren't the best.

But maybe if you start over and you start the rewrite, you might see the parts of the original that weren't so bad after all. There is nothing that says you have to keep writing the rewrite once you start. Maybe you just need to try something new to get a new perspective.
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lmjackson
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Re: Starting over?

Post by lmjackson » December 21st, 2010, 10:13 pm

I think anyone who has the patience to do a complete rewrite (or even a partial rewrite, or a chapter rewrite) would end up with a product 1000x better than before. And if it feels better, it's not exactly like starting over again. You still have your characters (at least your main ones), your main plot, and so on.

And like Sommer said, once you start there's no saying you have to finish. But if after a few pages you find you like the new stuff better, definitely keep it going!
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Louise Curtis
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Re: Starting over?

Post by Louise Curtis » December 21st, 2010, 11:21 pm

I tend to throw away whole books rather than rewriting them (I've thrown away three). I've rewritten one book (with enormous success) and I have plans to rewrite two more (books 2 and 3 in a trilogy, so I'll wait until I sell the first one so I don't end up doing multiple rewrites. . . ouch).
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HillaryJ
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Re: Starting over?

Post by HillaryJ » December 22nd, 2010, 12:38 am

I've got a trunk novel that I've literally begun on page one, word one, three times now. And I've now scratched out an entirely new, ridiculously complicated outline for it. It's like that car on blocks in the back yard the neighbor's been working on for five years and keeps buying parts for.
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Re: Starting over?

Post by Solly » December 22nd, 2010, 1:41 am

I remember "finishing" my second novel when the counter read 82k words, only to realize I didn't like the passive voice that I had initially felt was a great tone during the first chapter. Back to the word processor I went. I'm still in the process of changing it to an active perspective and about halfway done. Despite the occasional bouts of frustration, I am extremely pleased with the changes and my decision to rewrite the entire thing. I have a solid group of writing cohorts and they all agree that, while it was riveting to begin with, the changes have made it so much better.

As far as rewriting to change the story that's being told, I've never done that. I don't think I could.

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Re: Starting over?

Post by Margo » December 22nd, 2010, 11:21 am

I've done this several times, including with two of my published short stories. I find it freeing. If I try to work within the confines of something that is already broken, I find it too difficult to break out. I repeat the same mistakes because I don't want to give up this great turn of phrase or that cool character or this snippet of converasation. If I start fresh, it comes out cleaner. It has better congruence. (That's my word for the month, I think. I've only used one or another version of it a half dozen times in the last couple weeks.)
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Aimée
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Re: Starting over?

Post by Aimée » December 25th, 2010, 2:13 pm

Thanks everyone! It's pretty scary starting over, but I think I'll try it. Hopefully it will work out for the better.

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Re: Starting over?

Post by Fenris » December 25th, 2010, 4:03 pm

I realize I'm a little late to the party here (no, not the one on the Procrastination forum), but I think I'll have to agree with Sommer in that starting a rewrite does not necessitate a finish. I recently started what I dubbed an "experimental rewrite," where it almost wasn't even a rewrite--I started with the same premise, and would end in the same place, but everything in between was incredibly different. I ended up dropping it, but it gave me a new idea to use later on in the series. So in my opinion, it's always worth it. Even if you don't end up using the rewrite, the ideas within it might still find use later on.
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