Good Writing Is Rewriting

In movies, the writer taps out the last page of his novel on a typewriter. Close at hand is a nearly empty glass of whiskey and a smoldering cigarette in an ashtray. He hits the final period, rips the paper from the typewriter, lays the paper with the rest of his manuscript, slides them all into a large brown envelop, and mails it to the publisher. Six weeks later the royalty checks come rolling in. Little is mentioned or shown about the hours of rewriting that is the most labor intensive part of writing.

The advent of a computer has changed the rewriting and editing process drastically; as well as all the warnings about cigarettes. However, whiskey is still the elixir that greases the cogs of many creativity minds. With the computer, editing and rewriting are much simpler.

There has never been a writer who has not rewritten their work. In many cases that becomes the fun of writing. It gives the writer and opportunity to display more of their creative ability. It is a process not to be dreaded, rather, relished.

Often times when writing, a writer comes up with a clever twist or finds out that an element of the story should be brought up or explained in an early part of the story. Rewriting can clear that up.

It is a good time to either sharpen some edges or smooth them out.

What I do may be unorthodox. I’ve never really talked to any writers about how they polish and rewrite their work. When writing novel, I write a portion of a chapter; it is a subtitle, event, or episode within that chapter. It is read and rewritten before moving to the next subtitle, event, or episode. What I look for is continuity and various other mistakes. Once I perceive the chapter is finished it is reread and rewritten.

That process is carried out until the finish. Then it is reread in its entirety and rewritten along the way. After that there is one more read and it is then the final changes are made.

It is beneficial to allow a work to rest for a while before returning to it for a final rewrite or edit. In my particular case, I’m so certain of what I want to say that what is written is assumed.

Something to keep in mind; you’ve written a good story and re-writing it, will only make it better yet.

Rewriting, if viewed properly, can easily become the joy of your writing.


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