how to rewrite your novel

As most of you are aware, I recently finished rewriting my novel Wanderland, and as such, I have some wisdom to share on the matter.

Because, of course, I’m all-knowing and you should all listen to me. #fact

19 (2)STEP 1: confidence is key.

When you first start out, you’re SO EXCITED by your WIP. You can fix those plot holes! You can make your whiny characters sound brave and likeable!

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING.

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STEP 2: Procrastinate.

Having made a viable plan to rewrite your book, you now realise that you actually have to DO the rewriting, and that kind of makes you freak out.

And – you’ve just realised – there are so many things you have to do! EG vacuum the whole house twice, do seven loads of washing, pat your cat, eat chocolate, go through your Instagram feed, etc, etc…there’s no time for writing now!

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19 (2)STEP 3: consult the oracle.

how to write a book

Realise Google’s probably not going to be able to help you this time around.

Abandon the oracle.

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19 (2)STEP 4: more procrastinating (except you fool yourself into thinking it’s necessary).

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STEP 5: with abundant help from Twitter, decide to actually do the damn writing.

A surge of accomplishment follows – look what I’ve done! LOOK,ย  can write!

19 (2)STEP 6: realise you probably haven’t written as much as you thought.

Set better goals, dammit.

19 (2)STEP 7: decide that this is getting ridiculous and you need to plot the rest of your rewrite so you have an idea of what you’re doing.

how to write a book 2

It turns out my plotting skills are less than desirable. HOWEVER, writing lots of dot points DID help me work through one of my plot holes, so I guess that’s something??

19 (2)STEP 8: decide that some of the things can be fixed in your next draft – focus on a few things at a time.

And pray that all the plot holes/character inconsistencies/inaccuracies will fix themselves.

19 (2)STEP 9: write like a machine. Finish the rewrite. Collapse.

You have done an admirable job and deserve rest. Also chocolate.

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19 (2)STEP 10: send your rewritten MS to beta readers/critique partners and hope they don’t hate it.

(Mostly because I don’t want anything to do with it for a few weeks)

Aaaaaand that’s how you rewrite a novel.

Sounds pretty simple when you think of it like that, huh?

And I mean, it only took me like two and a half months. Luckily I do still love my WIP (Wanderland) – enough to want to make it better. And I don’t mind how many drafts that takes.

Here are some ACTUAL tips, though (because I feel bad):

  • Don’t stress about it being perfect yet – there are still more drafts to fix things in. And remember that some of what you’re writing is basically a first draft.
  • Before you start, REREAD your novel. Very vital.
  • Also, make a list of the things you want to fix in this draft. Come up with several solutions to these – if you keep listing possible solutions, I find it’s more likely that you’ll happen upon one that will work.

What’s your rewriting process? Do you rewrite everything or tackle specific problems with each revision?