The rewriting process can be difficult once you’ve attached your heart to the novel you’ve created. But every writer needs to edit their work. Better to do it yourself then have an editor change your work. So here’s my helpful tips I’ve learnt since being at Uni
1. Write up a full complete first draft.
Once you have finished, save it and then close it. Do not look at it for a day or two. If you have enough time leave it for a week or even a month. This will open up your mind to think about other things and return to your piece with a fresh new approach.
When reading through your first draft try not to focus too much on spelling grammar and typos. You can concentrate more with this later on.
2. The main focus should be ‘how is my piece working? And how can I make it better?’
For example: If your piece is written in third person, consider how it would be different if it were written in first person. It may help you a great deal to write two versions, one in first and one in third person. This will allow you to play about with your main character. Do you want the reader to be in their head? Knowing only what they know? Or would you prefer them to be slightly distant, only knowing certain thoughts and feelings but always following them throughout the story?
3. How your story is driven?
Is it character or plot driven and how does this affect the way the story is working? When a story is plot driven it can be common to reveal too much too soon to the reader. Think about what can be kept secret and what needs to be revealed.
4. Clichés are bad.
They’ve been overdone so much that sometimes we can’t help but write them down in our own pieces. Try to avoid these, find a different way to describe something, think of a new metaphor. It might help to make a list of words and phrases that have the same meaning as the clichés but are more obscure. Using a thesaurus is always helpful.
5. Does your dialogue sound real?
Do the characters sound different from each other? If you struggle with dialogue try writing a paragraph in the perspective of each character. Choose a scene where they have importance or feel strongly about something and write as that character. By doing this you’ll find their ‘voice’ and personality easier.
Another tip for dialogue is to write a conversation between two characters as a script. That way you’ll find what words and phrases suit your character and give them a strong personality through what they say.
6. Less is more.
Cutting is better than adding words. Nobody wants to read three pages worth of a description, cut it down and get to the point. It is always best to overwrite your first draft, get it all out, word vomit over that document. This makes it easier for you to picture the description and then cut it down to the precise details that matter.
7. Show don’t tell.
The one rule to rule them all. If you take creative writing as a degree this rule will be engraved into your brain by the end of first year. Show your reader how a problem affects a character. Show how the character develops as a person. Don’t tell them how they have evolved. Examples of this are too much telling of a characters backstory. Let it gradually come into play as the story progresses. The reader doesn’t need to know their entire life story in the first chapter.
8. The physical copy
It’s easier to rewrite when you have a physical copy in your hands. Read through it first and highlight and cross out anything that doesn’t sound right. Then start a new blank document and retype everything. You’ll find that you change and edit a lot more if you start again rather than going through the document itself again. It evens helps with writers block.
Hope this helps, and thanks for reading.