Rewriting is Very Forgiving

Rewriting is a big, scary process. You have to be completely unloving with your beloved novel, and hack, and chop, and scribble with red pen – or some other color if you have red phobia, like me.

As I’ve been belaboring over Summer Rush Draft 2.0, I’ve come to the conclusion: to rewrite, you must be unforgiving. But rewriting is very forgiving.

Okay, that sounded less confusing in my head.

What I mean is this. When I’m done with this post, I’m going to pull out my hard copy of Summer Rush and start hacking away at Chapter 12. It’s one of my favorite chapters, and I want it to be amazing when I’m finished. That means I’ll be more brutal on it than other chapters.

There are going to be a few things to salvage from the chapter, but my mindset as I get started won’t be to salvage. This is a search and destroy bad writing mission.

So, yes, rewriting is brutal and unforgiving to the novel. But rewriting is very forgiving to the writer.

I like to whine when I work. Don’t judge. It helps me. And cutting out pieces of my novel sometimes hurts like I’m cutting off fingers. So I whine a lot during that. But when I mess up with a rewrite, I have tons of older drafts to return to and start over.

When I “fix” something, but then return to it a bit later and realize it’s still hideous, I can just pat myself on the back and say, Don’t worry; you can fix this now or hit it in draft 3.0.

I like that feeling. Rewriting is like innumerable do-overs. And all the bad do-overs, nobody has to see. The entire rewriting process just got a good rep for me.

I don’t think I’ll be doing much whining today.


One thought on “Rewriting is Very Forgiving

  1. Good point about having innumerable do-overs with rewriting! I’m using that sort of thinking in writing a first draft right now. It’s rather freeing. And I hope I have enough distance when I start my rewrite to really get into it and kill my darlings.

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