Monday 2 September 2013

The Art of the Rewrite*

Read previous draft as much as you can.

Take metaphorical sledge hammer in hand.

Smash the damn thing to pieces.

Look at the bits left that still make sense.

Watch for fat and dispose of it.

Add new bits if necessary.

Rebuild from the ground up.

Read it over.

Keep sledge hammer handy if need be.

Drink plenty of tea.



*The following should not be construed as solid advice but more of a venting process.


  1. Re-outline, Take a beat sheet and beat it out again, don't cut&paste because that's not rewriting, go over character motivations again, rewriting is the real writing, rewrite until you can't even if it takes 100 drafts to make it better, get rid of on the nose dialogue.

  2. Yep. Pretty much. Currently writing a beat sheet based on my present draft and that will become the starting point.

    Anyone who thinks that a first draft is acceptable can keep their day job.

  3. As Ernest Hemingway way has said"The first draft is shit."

    Yes the first draft is just the beginning. What I do is prepare well before even writing the first draft then just write the first draft and not even think about it. Just get it all out. Then put it away for awhile and start on a new project. Come back later and go through it piece by piece and if I need to get rid of most of it then so be it and see where the real story is within it and go through the process as I said above.

  4. Yep. My current draft (the first) is based on a 12 page outline and then a more detailed 35 page outline, more like a "scriptment", with slug lines and far more detail. I can't write a draft without that and need to know exactly what I'm doing. And even then the resulting draft may not be exactly what's on the scriptment page. These docs keep me on my toes, letting my have new ideas that I'm able to weave in more effectively since I have a better idea of where I am in the process.

    Still means the first draft is the first draft, though.


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