Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Twisted Tuesday: Examining REWRITING, Step 2

Last Twisted Tuesday, we explored the methods used in organizing time, material, and brain power when tackling a full manuscript rewrite. STEP1 talked about finding good critique partners or betas, and examining your reasons for REwriting instead of REvising.

Let's move forward and chat about blowing through a stump in the middle of a scene. Has a stump ever rooted up in the middle of your writing garden?

Scenario: You've decided a particular scene still has value for your rewrite, but a new purpose must be found for it. You have the old scene jostling around in your head, probably memorized to death. Now you have ideas that must be incorporated into that scene to integrate new plot threads, character development, voice, etc...

Break the scene down into smaller parts. In order to do a well-grounded rewrite, seeing the elements which made the initial scene work can be helpful. Sometimes it uncovers a hidden hole you hadn't noticed or will show you choices, aka roads, you hadn't thought of before. It will also help you chop those stumps that are keeping you from your writing goals.

Clear Clutter. This is my method and I know there are tons of writing programs out there that probably do a better job, but I'm simple and I like tangible things.

1. I make a brief physical list of new elements I'm sure need incorporation into the scene. Usually I do this on an index card. Like I said--brief. Giving myself too many stipulations drowns my creativity.

2. Then I open a new document, calling it Workspace: 'Title of Book', and cut and paste the existing scene onto the blank screen.

3. Now's where the rewriting fun begins. I read through, and using a new index card, I begin listing any existing element I'm sure I want to use in my rewrite. Basically, I'm creating a new outline for this one scene. Once I feel the structural elements (library, front desk, outside, car...) are there, I order them on as many index cards as I need. (ex: start at front desk of library, fight happens, rush outside, jump into car...)

I do this process as many times as I feel necessary to layer voice, emotions, back story, descriptions, gestures, and you name it. This may seem tedious, but it breaks down the elements of a good story, giving it eyes to become a great story.

We'll continue this next time, showing the Split Screen and how the index cards become a full scene.

My ROW80 PROGRESS is brief, today.

I've had my own stumps to overcome. One chapter wasn't merely a rewrite but a totally new creation, needed to move a new plot twist forward. The first half of the scene went like a charm. But once I got neck-high in the dialog, I realized I needed to decide what information I wanted to give the reader now and what facts needed to wait. *sigh*

Yes, this will be another Twisted Tuesday post. But for now, I've finally entered ACT III  #doingmajorcartwheels  for an equivalent of just over 9,100 words. I figure I have approximately 10-11,000 more to rewrite and then look over my critique partners edits.

Now, for my ROW80 motivation partners progress: Susan's PROGRESSMargo's PROGRESSC.Lee's PROGRESS.

23 comments:

  1. Congrats on your progress with the rewrites. Great points! Thanks for sharing your rewrite strategies. :)

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  2. Great ideas for rewrites. I've been thinking more of the purposes of my scenes too when I need to rewrite/revise. I may try the index cards as I have a few scenes I'm struggling with. That's great you're making progress.

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  3. I have both total rewrites and major rewrites to do on some chapters! I need to kill me some darlings. :)

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  4. Great suggestions. I never thought to take the scene out and work on it by itself, but I think I'll have to try your approach.

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  5. I'm struggling with a scene right now that's like that - how much to reveal, how much to keep back. It's tough on the first draft; easier after that for that sort of thing.

    Great job on the progress!

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  6. Yes!! I needed this. Bookmarked now. :-)

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  7. I've made some drastic changes from the outline to the manuscript, but so far I've not had to change a scene that much. Usually just small adjustments and additions.

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  8. You guys are ROCKING! Way to go!!! And I haven't had the stump problem yet, but I'm sure thankful to know what to do about it now~ :o) <3

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  9. Great advise for adding to a scene. That stump problem sounds aweful. I haven't experienced that one yet.

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  10. Sounds like a great plan for the rewrites. I haven't had to get to that point yet. But I always have trouble axing my little darlings when I feel they should be in the story, but no one else does. :( I've set up a small word doc cemetery for them and have a service for each one before it's laid to rest. Nah, not really. :)

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  11. Sounds like we are all hitting stumps ... or muddles... but slogging on through them. Yay!! I'm curious to see the next step and how it relates to this one.

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  12. Wow, what a cool way to do it! I never thought about using a new document and cutting and pasting. Thank you for this.

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  13. Really great tips for rewriting a scene, Sheri! Super progress on your own rewrites as well! Keep it up. You'll be done in no time at all.

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  14. I'm in the process of a self-imposed rewrite myself. Methinks your idea(s) might help a bit with organization. Hey, what can I say? Clutter? It follows me around...

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  15. really great steps- the best is when a scene serves several purposes and still leaves you feeling completely in love with the story. Thos are hard to come by but sometimes I find 'em.

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  16. Great tips! I love it when you finally feel like things are coming together.

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  17. great advice and boy can crit partners help. I only wish I'd found them sooner!

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  18. You're chugging along...and still giving us all help along the way!

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  19. This is so awesome! Congrats on the rewrites. =)

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  20. Wow. A superb post (and Step 1). I've bookmarked this for future reference!

    Ellie Garratt

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  21. Oops...forgot to say congratulations on your continued progress!

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  22. this is informative and insightful.


    Check out our short story slam today,

    We love creativity, your input is valued.

    Cheers.
    Happy Friday!
    Hope to see you in!


    PS: wondering if you wish to work for Bluebell Books doing biography book review biweekly on Saturdays, let me know.

    bluebellbooks4u@gmail.com

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  23. This comes at a perfect time for me. I'm now doing massive rewrites to my WIP due to awesome beta reader feedback. :D

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