“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
—Stephen King, WD
—Stephen King, WD
Dun Dun Duuuuunnn
I hope I speak for everyone when I say, I like to think of myself as a serious writer. Would it be stepping my boundaries to even count myself as an author? However you see yourself, there will most likely be a time when you are tested. Worst, there's a time when you must prove your loyalty to your passion. This time, for me, would be when it's time to do rewrites, major edits, second or third drafts and for those extra poor poor souls, fourth fifth and sixth drafts.
Alas, this scary time has made it's entrance into my life and I must admit, nothing has prepared me for it. I am currently in the middle of rewriting my very first full length novel, Unearth. Now, as a rookie in this whole thing I an't give you any verifiable help but here are some things that i've learned so far...
It's already stressful enough to know that you are about to do open heart surgery on your baby. If you don't have a set date where you absolutely have to have it done, take it slow. Rushing through your rewrites will only make your second or even third draft messier. Think of it like a retry at a failed relationship. Don't rush back into it, give it patience and set your limits. *cough cough(says the girl who's relationship status is perpetually 'its complicated'. But can you blame me? How can I explain being married to more than one fictional character?)
Besides that, you should follow up with your characters. Before I started my rewrites, I'd taken a few weeks from even looking at my novel as suggested by Stephanie Morrill from Go Teen writers. During that time, I'd had someone reading it from the beginning. They commented on how much they absolutely loved my characters personality and that's when it hit me. My character was NOT consistent. I'm talking from the first chapter to the middle of the novel there was a complete personality swap. NOT COOL! The internet is littered with cool character interviews that you should do when you start your novel. When you're rewriting check it out and see how much has changed. You character is suppose to change throughout the story, but near the end you should not have a completely different character.
In the words of one of my favorite musicians, "cut the bad fruit off of the tree, make the sacrifice."
Cut, cut cut! At first it's pretty much torture but if you can cut a hunk of something out that seemed unnecessary and rewrite it as something useful and just as interesting, it will feel sooo much better in the end.
So, thus far, rewriting has been quite an adventure. But as Mr. Stephen king so eloquently put it; like murdering children, it must be done. Replace the butcher knife with a red pen and you'll be well on your way.
p.s I thought about posting an "It" gif on here in honor of Stephen King but after scanning through about ten of them on tumblr I was certain I'd either burst in tears or not sleep well for the next month. So, I kind of nixed the idea, you're welcome.