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How Many Times Do You Rewrite And Why? (1 Viewer)

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TheMightyAz

Mentor
I tend to make several passes and concentrate on particular aspects in each one. As the saying goes: writing is rewriting. Clive Barker often gives his work 50+ passes whilst Koontz edits as he writes, although I'm certain he'll at least give the finished book at least one quick pass.

I used to try and improve everything in my passes but now I'm more specific in each pass. I'll have a dialogue pass, a grammar pass, a word choice pass, a style pass, a rhythm pass and a 'stuff to cut' pass etc. And then I'll have one final pass to try and pick up on anything I've missed.

How many times do you rewrite and do you have specific passes as I do?
 

bazz cargo

Retired Supervisor
I never counted. But a hell of a lot. Mostly it's a style thing. Lots of SPaG passes as well.

There is one thing I try to catch, paradoxes.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
Not many anymore. It depends on the book, but typically, I'll go through a first draft, set it aside while I'm writing another book, then come back, give it a solid pass and it goes to beta readers. Whatever they come up with that needs to be changed, I'll give it a third pass and send it off to my final readers, who are all published authors, editors and agents. After that, if they have nothing major that needs to be changed, the book is ready for publication.

That hasn't always been the case. I've gone through a dozen or more passes before I was satisfied, but the more you do a thing, the better you get at it. It just takes years and years and years of practice.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I don't consider edits the same thing as a rewrite. I frequently make changes to a percentage of sentences for clarity, to eliminate verbosity, or just in any way to make the sentence better. I'm not changing its content--just how it expresses it--but most of that comes in my proofreading process where I'm looking at one sentence at a time in my app. Any content changes come to clean up continuity, and I might add or delete a sentence or paragraph--but that's rare. I'm putting sufficient thought into the characters and plot as I write that I'm good with that after the first draft.

But passes? After I finish, I do a read through which checks for things like continuity. I do that in the word processor (once Word, now Scrivener). The second pass is in my proofread app where I get the entire document one random sentence at a time. Then I do one more read through (on Kindle) where I'll make a few more minor adjustments if I spot something (I have the document open at the same time, now in Word). Most of those final changes are, truthfully, inconsequential fiddling. The real workload is in the proofreading app.
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
Very seldom.

Usually I'm pretty happy with the bones of the thing, usually sufficient that the worst offenses can be addressed without undertaking any major structural modifications. If this isn't the case...it's more often quicker and easier to burn it down and start from zero rather than trying to cut and graft it into something workable.

If I don't think it can stand as-is after the third round of edits it goes to the breakers.
 

LadySilence

Senior Member
Sometimes.
I never stop at the first step.
And I always try to take a break between one reading and another.
So that you have clear ideas.
 

Mark Twain't

Staff member
Board Moderator
For me, it's like the painting of the Forth Bridge*. Each time I finish, it's time to go over it again (a combination of edits/rewrites).





*For those who don't understand the reference, it used to be said the the Forth Bridge (Scotland) was constantly being painted because, by the time they finished, it was time to start again but I believe this is apocryphal.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
As others have stated, I don't tend to do rewrites as much as I do edits. Edits, those I do a bunch of passes as one change can change far more than a simple word or sentence. So, have to go back over it to ensure it says what I wanted it to say in the context of the scene and story.

Having a solid story is usually the result of hashing out the bones of the story during planning. I suspect rewrites are often the result of pantsing far more often than it is for a planner.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
As others have stated, I don't tend to do rewrites as much as I do edits. Edits, those I do a bunch of passes as one change can change far more than a simple word or sentence. So, have to go back over it to ensure it says what I wanted it to say in the context of the scene and story.

Having a solid story is usually the result of hashing out the bones of the story during planning. I suspect rewrites are often the result of pantsing far more often than it is for a planner.
Yeah, I'd have to agree with that, although it depends to some extent on how in depth the planning is.
 

Gamer_2k4

WF Veterans
As many times as it takes. I have my first draft, which is littered with my own comments. I have my second draft, which implements corrections as those comments dictate. Then I send it off to beta readers, and what follows is a third draft. If the novel still doesn't work, I keep revising.

My first novel is on its fourth (and hopefully final) draft. My second novel, which I finished last month, is in the first beta reader pass now (that is, between second and third drafts).
 
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