Tuesday, May 10, 2011

REwriting Vs. REvisions

You're a writer. You have an idea. Then another. Before you know it, you have too many ideas to keep track of. So you need to outline or write a mini-synopsis or even splatter your thoughts on index cards.

Then comes scenes which breed chapters and complete Act I, II, and then II. You're at the Climax or Black Moment *wink, Stina* Then the wrap-up, until finally you write the two most precious words: THE END.

When I finished my first manuscript (which is technically my second, I just can't think of my first ms attempt as anything but yuck...) I was elated. Awe is probably a better way to put it. I really did it. From start to finish. I had characters, a plot, sub-plots, and scenes that moved a real story forward. There were even people that read it and were impressed. I remember thinking, "Geez...really??"

Then I met other writers, ones more experienced than me. They read. They critiqued. They guided me to the knowledge that writing the script was ONLY step one. Now I was like, "Geez...really??" But down deep, I knew I wasn't finished yet.

So I took all their advice, edits, and suggestions and did what every serious novelist does--I started to revise.

According to Dictionary.com, a REVISION is: a corrected or new version of a book, article, etc... So during revisions of a manuscript, the writer corrects errors in grammar, syntax, mood, voice and so on. He/she also might discover inconsistencies within the story which need fixing. Writing another paragraph or tightening up some prose can sometimes fix those aliments. What's most important to note here is that the story or theme remains the same. Basically, revising takes what you've already created and makes it shine and sparkle to the point where it's irresistible to an agent, editor, or publisher. 


Now rewriting is a bit different. REWRITING (same source) is: to write in a different manner or form. One will find revising within rewriting but not the opposite. If you REwrite, you REwrite and change/alter a part of the story. Rewriting can be as dramatic as completely axing a manuscript or article and starting over or cutting out parts and re-creating those. Character development (including backstory, emotional gauges, physical appears and basic arc), main plot, and sub-plots can all be recreated, which can alter the original idea of the story itself creating a totally new tale.

During the ROW80, I've been REwriting my YA manuscript. After wonderful advice and interest--and two months waffling about what I should do--I decided to weave in another plotline, giving depth and adding mystery to the tale. It's also given me a deeper insight into my characters, which is making me a better character arc writer.

I completely REwrote the first four chapters--every word, altering some backstory which changed my MCs perception of her life at the beginning of the story and in turn is changing her character arc throughout Act I, II, & surely will in Act III. Then slowly and methodically, I've REvised scenes that still worked in moving the story forward, while REwriting others, intensifying action and mystery as well as my characters inner growth. Then there are scenes I've been writing brand-spanking new. Can you see how I'm applying these two terms?

Since last Tuesday, I've REvised or REwritten 8 chapters for an approximate total of 18,500 words. I'm excited, because I should be entering Act III by next week.

Please visit these other lovely ladies who are joining me in all this REvision and REwriting.

Susan's PROGRESS
Margo's PROGRESS
C.Lee's PROGRESS

AND I've highlighted a new YA book over on Oasis for YA!!

Can you answer my question. Can you see how I'm applying the differences between REvising and REwriting? Have you done the same?

Don't forget to enter my Signed MG book giveaway!!

33 comments:

  1. I get it. :D

    On my wip, I was working through some heavy rewrites because I came up with a better idea for a character motivation than what I'd had. This new motivation heightened the conflict and tension (man, I didn't realize the other motivation was so weak until then).

    My CPs are going through the wip now, and I've only had to do some minor revisions. :D

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  2. I guess I never thought of the difference. But I definitely rewrite as well as revise. Good for you for being so productive.

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  3. Yes, I know exactly what you mean. Especially after spending 4 months on a pure rewrite.

    Revision and edits are coming soon. ^_^

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  4. This is really an interesting post. Dare I admit that I prefer rewriting to revising?

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  5. Love this post - and yes, I am rewriting at the moment...followed by revising!

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  6. Rewriting always seems like so much work to me. I hate trashing old words with a polka-dot passion.

    But then...the rewrites are always so much better! *sigh*

    Great post, good lady!

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  7. Wow, haven't you been productive! Yep, I REWROTE most of String Bridge. Wow. Lotsa work. Good on you!

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  8. I hear ya on this and totally get it. I do this often especially with my first WiP.

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  9. I see I see!

    I've done the same but tend to do more actual re-writing than revising.

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  10. I much prefer re-writes over revisions. I find revisions tedious, more like work. But re-writes are fresh, the juices flowing and all that, ya know?

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  11. Great distinction. I think you've got a great handle on it.

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  12. I'll be attempting a rewrite sometime in the future. Hope and pray and try again.

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  13. Rewrites are heck, but they almost always make things better. Good on you for tackling the hard work! Keep it up!! :)

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  14. I am REwriting much of a manuscript. I am a big fan of the now-you've-written-a-draft-so-throw-it-out-and-start-over-as-many-times-as-necessary. But I know this is not a popular way to write. :)

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  15. Great explanation of two similar elements of novel writing!

    I am in the process of REwriting my NaNoWriMo project. I've been REvising the new stuff as I get feedback from my crit partner.

    Hope you continue to have happy writing! ^_^

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  16. Excellent points. REwriting and REvising are so separate that, to me, they're not even in the same family. REwriting makes something alive. REvising makes that REwrite a diamond. Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Excellent way to show us the difference. Thanks!

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  18. Love this post, Sheri. Love, love, love!! :-)

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  19. I have done the same! Sometimes my work needs one or the other and sometimes it needs both. Knowing which is the tough part! But my critique partners help with that.

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  20. You confirmed what I suspected: there is a big difference between re-writing and revising. I think I got past the first three chapter re-write and I am now (hopefully) into a nice run of revisions and minor paragraph-sized rewrites for the next three chapters. Then it will be back to rewriting.

    BUT HOLY HONONYMS!!!! 8 chapters in ONE WEEK!!!! Girl you are on fire! - and inspired! I LOVE IT - I feel like I can grab onto your coat-tails for the ride. Keep it up.

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  21. Great post Sheri! I felt dthe exact way that you described after first writing THE END. Then I REvised . . . but I should have REwritten. I had to go back and REwrite after I REvised and it's taken me FOREVER!

    Awesome progress on ROW80! I wish I could say the same for myself *ducks head*.

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  22. Awesome post. I can now see there is a big difference between revising and rewriting!

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  23. I haven't rewritten anything yet, but I am deep into revisions!

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  24. Nice way of breaking it down. I mainly did a lot of revising in my current MS...and added some new stuff, took a bit out. As for another project (probably) coming up...I'll have to do more rewriting as I started it, and I want to change a lot of it now. :)

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  25. Sounds like you're getting a lot done! I don't pay too much attention to these distinctions, but I guess that makes sense! I guess I do a lot more rewriting than I thought!

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  26. Wow, you've made such great progress! I'm revising book #3, and when that's finished I'll need to rewrite book #2. It has a loooong way to go.

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  27. You're so right - there is a difference! There is a time and a place for both revising and rewriting. Great post!

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  28. I've done both re envisioning which then brings rewriting on a small scale to a large scale. Worth it in the end.

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  29. I've done both and in my experience- Revision is hard to get through. But Rewrites can be just downright painful. It sounds like you did a great job and have a MUCH better attitude than I do about it too. Hopefully some day I'll get there too! lol

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  30. Wow! You're on fire - go, revising queen, go! :)

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  31. EIGHT chapters revised! I'm amazed and delighted for you. Keep up the great work and thanks for the post on revision. You can't hear about that part of this writing business enough.

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  32. Great post! I've done both....there IS a difference.

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  33. Well all right then - I guess I'm doing a combo of revision and rewriting right now :D Revision sounds like the very last step before submission :)

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