Anyone with a functioning set of peepers is aware of it: writers – or at least, the majority of them – hate rewriting their work.
Okay… hate is a strong word and all of that, but it is true that the majority of writers enjoy the process of the first draft way more than they do the process of the fourth. It’s basic human nature. The longer you spend doing something mundane, the more your hatred toward it grows. The same very much applies in rewriting.
That can act as an issue though.
While writers tend to dislike editing their work, they are never ignorant toward it. Writers know that the revisions process is perhaps the most important part of writing a book: books aren’t written, they’re rewritten – you know all the sayings.
But, there’s a difference between acknowledging the importance of something and knowing how to make the most of it. A writer can spend years rewriting their book, but if they don’t go about it in a productive, organised sort of way, they can spend each and every one of those years spinning their wheels and getting absolutely nowhere.
Rewriting, like most important things in life, requires direction. And that’s maybe why it’s so damn hard.
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When Is A Rewrite Complete?
When it bores you to death.
Chances are if you remember most of the sentences, can predict all of the scene descriptions and characters in the scene, and know exactly what chapter is coming up next, then you probably understand your book well enough.
Of course, you wrote the book, so shouldn’t you know all those things already? Well, not really. You’ll have a rough idea, but when you know exactly what’s coming up next every time you read your manuscript and haven’t forgotten the minor details of your scenes, that’s when your rewrite is somewhere close to the end.
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Are There Other Signs?
It may seem a little prehistoric, but another great way to tell if your edit is complete is by analysing your feelings toward it. If when reading through your work, you actually stop and think, ‘Hey, this isn’t half bad,’ then that is a good indicator that your rewrite is somewhere close to completion.
You know how it gets. Most of the time, you spend the hour following a read-through contemplating your existence. You tell yourself that you’re trash, that you have no business writing a novel; that even the thought of attempting one was well above your creative capacity. Then you spend the following hour Tweeting your tears away.
So when you think about it, when it eventually comes to that time when you reread your work and sort of actually like it, how could that be anything other than a good sign?
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Just Do Your Very Best
Above all else, this is your truest indication. If you’ve put your all into your rewrite – hour after hour, day after day; month after month – and come down to the finishing touches in acknowledgement of that, then your rewrite is complete.
When all is said and done, your best is all you can give. So give your best, devote yourself entirely to your rewrite, and reap the satisfaction that will surely follow.
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