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Thursday, December 28, 2023

Writing Ideas: Writing is Rewriting

writing is rewriting

Writing suggestions: writing is rewriting (or is it?).

These of us who spend a variety of time finding out the craft of writing inevitably come throughout bits of writing recommendation that we hear again and again: present don’t inform, write what you already know, and kill your darlings. These writing suggestions could be a bit cryptic, however the one about revisions is crystal clear: writing is rewriting.

The intention is to get concepts out of your head and onto the web page (or the display screen, because the case could also be) as shortly as potential with out worrying about grammar, spelling, and punctuation. You don’t must get the small print proper. Simply get that tough draft accomplished. You possibly can clear it up later.

Like most writing suggestions, this one is debatable. Some writers favor to labor over every sentence whereas composing a primary draft. This implies fewer edits later. Others use the drafting course of to navigate by way of their concepts. This typically means extra revisions when the drafting is finished; in different phrases, the majority of time is spent on rewriting.

Getting it Proper the First Time

When you have a strong grasp in your challenge, then sharpening as you go is perhaps a great course of for you. For instance, if you happen to’ve sketched your characters and made an in depth define of your story, then you possibly can concentrate on particulars and mechanics as you’re employed by way of your first draft.

It’d look like making an attempt to get it proper on the primary go shall be a time saver. I’m unsure about that. Drafting on this method means going over every sentence and paragraph a number of instances earlier than shifting on to the following. On this sense, you’re nonetheless revising a number of instances; you’re simply doing it on the sentence or paragraph stage reasonably than revising your complete manuscript.

However what if later within the course of, possibly on the midpoint or finish of your textual content, you uncover a significant downside that requires slicing or rewriting giant parts of textual content? All that point you spent modifying may go to waste.

Nonetheless, this can be a technique I typically use when writing weblog posts, and I’ve discovered that there are some advantages to it. After I use this technique, I define the posts first. Drafting is quicker and smoother as a result of I’ve already deliberate what I’m going to cowl. As I draft, I am going over every sentence and paragraph a number of instances reasonably than going over your complete piece from starting to finish a number of instances. Lastly, I can often polish it with a single proof.

All of it goes by fairly shortly, however since I’m engaged on brief items, I can simply preserve all of the concepts for each bit in my head as I’m writing. After I’m engaged on a extra elaborate challenge, like a novel, there’s much more happening. I would go over sure sentences and paragraphs a number of instances throughout any given edit, however often I work by way of your complete draft, give it a relaxation, then do it many times till I’ve received a cultured manuscript.

Get it Proper By way of Revisions

A e book is a large endeavor. It’s commonplace for writers to spend over a yr on the primary draft alone. For those who’re writing a novel, you might have lots to consider: characters, plot and subplots, scenes, motion, dialogue, description, themes, and story arcs. Even when you’ve got a basic thought of what your story is about, when you begin fleshing it out, you’ll run into every kind of issues.

These issues can slam the brakes in your writing progress. For those who’re additionally paying shut consideration to grammar, spelling, and punctuation or figuring out probably the most minute particulars of each scene as you write your first draft, you’ll end up stopping each few sentences to iron out the wrinkles. If you try this, you danger dropping your practice of thought. For those who’re deep right into a scene, you would lose its whole stream since you’re worrying over punctuation or capitalization questions that might be handled later.

Throughout revisions, you possibly can shave off the surplus, modifying your piece down, or you possibly can construct on the narrative, fleshing out the small print. You possibly can clear up the grammar, do away with the typos, and repair all the things that wants fixing. Each time you undergo one other revision, you make the manuscript higher. All that rewriting results in a clear, polished challenge.

Most writers appear to get the most effective outcomes with this technique.


For those who’re going to write down by rewriting, plan on going over your work a number of instances. Right here’s a great system:

  1. First draft: As you write the primary draft, concentrate on getting your concepts on the web page. Don’t return and revise in any respect. In actual fact, don’t even reread what you’ve written until you completely should to be able to get your bearings.
  2. Evaluate: Undergo your draft and make notes about giant issues that must be addressed. You may must rename some characters, conduct analysis so that you get the details proper, transfer giant sections round, or make main adjustments to the narrative.
  3. Rewrite: Utilizing your notes, do a radical rewrite of your complete draft. Now your messy tough draft is cleaned up.
  4. Revise: Learn by way of your second draft, making adjustments as you go. Tighten up the dialogue, easy out the descriptions, test for sentence stream and phrase alternative. You may do targeted revisions: one for dialogue, one for fact-checking, one for double-checking your descriptions.
  5. Edit: You’ll in all probability clear up a variety of technical errors as you rewrite and revise, however whenever you edit, you have to be targeted on grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence construction. For those who’re unsure in regards to the guidelines of grammar, that is when you need to look them up.
  6. Proofread: Lastly! Now you’re simply checking for these final remaining pesky typos.

You may must repeat a few of these steps. For instance, I often advocate proofreading a manuscript till you possibly can’t discover any remaining errors or typos. Ideally, when you’re achieved, you’ll usher in an expert editor. Keep in mind, regardless of what number of instances you go over your manuscript, a number of errors and inconsistencies will slip by way of.

How A lot Do You Rewrite?

Do you attempt to produce an ideal first draft, or do you comply with the outdated adage that writing is rewriting? Do you utilize totally different writing processes for various tasks? (I do.) Lastly, what are a few of your favourite writing suggestions? Share your ideas by leaving a remark, and preserve writing.

10 Core Practices for Better Writing

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