By Katherine Reay
We like to call them edits. Or perhaps macro-edits, if we want to sound crafty. But sometimes, they are simply re-writes – a ponderous process to push the story where it should have already been.
I’ve just been through a bout of these and it was a humbling experience. I tried to push myself and attempt/accomplish new things in my next story. Some I pulled off and others needed to be revisited – or rewritten.
I will say that the process made The Bronte Plot stronger – characters got pushed, motivations clarified, emotions deepened and the stakes raised. All good things. And, I suppose, the process made me stronger too – if Kelly Clarkson is to be believed and “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” But it was still hard.
In order to make sure I take something away from the experience, rather than just dwell on it, I’ve come up with a few points to share and remember:
1. Push yourself. Take Risks. Write Fast and Free. Especially in the first draft. Here is where I say to NOT put on the brakes. Take all the risks you want and explore…
2. When editing – Now assess the risks you’ve taken and make sure they are grounded – both in the craft (If it hasn’t ever been done before – there may be a reason. 🙂 ) and within the story.
3. Remember your strengths – those are aspects of your story craft that are probably the most compelling and, therefore, may resonate best with your readers. So as you push and stretch, be sure to not leave them behind. In fact, I say to continue to hone them as well.
4. As you learn and develop as a writer, push yourself in one or two areas, rather than attempt to manage too many moving parts. Here is where I fell down. I tried to tackle too many new aspects of story at once.
5. Take your time. Pace yourself as you edit. Letting a manuscript sit untouched for a time will give you a fresh perspective when you return. (Days and weeks help here… Doesn’t need to be months or years.)
6. Have fun! If you enjoy the manuscript and the writing, most likely others will too. The thrill you feel in the writing really does translate to the page.
So there you go. A few tips… We are called to write and while it isn’t always an easy calling, it’s one filled with so many rich blessings. I hope you enjoy it!
Thanks for visiting today! And please let me know if you have any other tips for facing that REWRITE moment.
Oh… I forgot one more: Chocolate!
Katherine Reay is the author of Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy & Jane. She’s also a wife, mother, runner, former marketer, avid chocolate consumer and, randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine and her family recently moved to Chicago – and she will never move again. Learn more about Katherine at www.katherinereay.com.