Monday, July 25, 2011


We all know writing is rewriting. At least I know it now. Time was I used to unleash first drafts onto poor, unsuspecting editors - and then I was surprised when my work didn't sell.

By chance I discovered, while writing short stories, that any work I rewrote had a greater chance of making it into print. It can occasionally take up to ten drafts to do the trick and get my story into a reasonable kind of order. In some of these drafts I'll only change a word or two, in others, complete chunks will be rewritten.

Applying this principle to longer works, I reasoned that rewriting might well make my manuscripts more saleable. But where to stop?

One of my current longer WIPs has been rewritten to death over many years. I just can't let the story go. But, in the reworking, it has evolved into something completely different - different heroine and hero, different setting, different secondary characters, different conflicts and storyline.

Nothing remains of the original idea or the early drafts. Nothing at all.

So, am I really rewriting the same book? Or am I now writing a different one? And how many books have I written in between?

I'm still unable to comment on most blogs, but thank you all for your messages on my previous posts. If you are able to comment here, I'd love to know how many drafts you write before submitting a story.


Kiru Taye said...

I totally agree, Suzanne. The road to print is full of rewrites.

Teresa Ashby said...

I used to do that at first too, Suz, complete with being surprised that nothing sold - now I'm the opposite and I can't stop rewriting, often before I've even finished the story which is death to the creative flow!