Monday, September 14, 2015

Rewriting a Room: Letting Go

I think the hardest part of rewriting a novel is letting go.

After all, you’ve put in a lot of work into that product. There are things you specifically love, things you don’t want to say goodbye to, and things you aren’t sure you’re going to be able to get back in the event of unforeseen changes.

It’s annoying and hard and sucks—and worst of all you’re going to be back at square one, building your way back up to a climax and a project worth working on.

In these cases, I think it’s important to remember WHY you’ve decided to rewrite something.

  • has time changed your thoughts on where the story should go?
  • are there significant numbers of characters that need to be taken out or added in?
  • does a significant setting change need to be made?
  • do you need to open up more plot threads to carry the story?
  • would you like to try writing with a different voice?
  • do the protagonists need significant recrafting?
  • are you just not happy with the story, because you are bored, displeased, or feel like it’s “just not right”?

In the case of my superhero novel, I know it needs rewriting because I didn’t have an actual climax in mind when I started writing, and so the characters, settings, and thoughts don’t really build up to any one thought. I need more plot threads, and I actually need to make it to the end.

In the case of my room, it didn’t get as much water damage as my sister’s room and probably could have survived, but structurally, the floors needed some work, the walls could do with replacing, the ceiling was partly missing because of water damage, and the decorations were getting a little old. It was time for some sprucing up.

Currently, my room has been stripped down to its basics, and I need to do the same with my story. Back to the simple idea that was, and not the thing that I made up.

How do you let go of a story you love to make it something better in the end?

(Not quite sure what I'm on about? Be sure to check out my introduction here!)


  1. I love this comparison (so, I'm happy you get a chance to spruce up your room, even though the circumstances are probably frustrating). It's so true though. In my rough drafts, I might have the framework of what I want my novel to be, but I need to rewrite everything and rip out walls and rebuild ceilings and throw paint everywhere. (And I have the same problem--since I'm a planster, most of my stories don't work up to any specific climax, so I always have to spend ages and ages fixing the build-up and then rewriting the entire ending). Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yeah, it is frustrating, and I'm glad you picked up on that. XD But oh yes, that is just the same for me! I have to do a lot of ripping, actually. I'm not very good at first tries. :P (YAY SOMEONE ELSE UNDERSTANDS! The thing that it builds to is never enough. -.-) Thanks for reading, Liz!

  2. Honestly I get a rush out of rewriting/ripping stuff out -- when it comes to redoing physical things like rooms, because I HATE clutter and want to burn it all with a torch every few months and start over, but also with writing. I don't know, it's just so refreshing to get rid of stuff that doesn't help and start fresh. xD

    1. Haha, I know you do! I am a little bit of a clutter hog, I am afraid, and so hopefully this will not only help me declutter my writing but also my room. I don't need so much of my stuff. XD

  3. I realized the same thing about one of my stories! Like you, I didn't have a climax in mind when I wrote it and I know that it really didn't go anywhere. Characters need to be added, plot threads woven in, an actual ending crafted, the works. *sighs* It'll be a lot of work, but I know the story will be better in the end. :D

    Great post!


    1. *nods* It's hard to come up with a climax first try, right? But, I have to agree, when you put in the extra work it always comes out stronger. :)

  4. Rewriting is always tough for me because I'm always worrying about whether I'm actually making my story any better or not. Plus, writing a first draft is so draining that by the time I finish up my motivation is pretty much shot for a while. But it's always worth it, in the end :) Great post!

    1. I have that same problem! I worry if I'm making something worse, if I'm hardly doing anything at all! I've burned myself out on novels just because I stressed over them so much. But, you're right, if we work on them right, they make themselves worth it. :) Thanks for reading, Alex!


Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!