Monday, July 4, 2016

5 Tips for Knowing When to Re-write

We all have to do it, even if we hate the thought of it--rewriting. Sometimes there is no way around it. Even the best plotted story can run into a roadblock, or the story written into the mist can hit a hall before you even know what is happening. Suddenly you  can't move forward. Suddenly the characters are not cooperating. We'll look at how to rewrite the story in coming weeks but for today let's look at how to figure out when you've hit a roadblock and there is no other way around it but to re-write.


1. The characters are not cooperating.  I listed that above, but that is a big way to realize that you are heading in the wrong direction. If they don't seem to work in the scenes you are writing, you may be taking them in the wrong direction. Look over what you wrote earlier, look over your character profiles, and look over the characters themselves.  If they aren't working, then you need to re-think where the plot is headed for these people. You may need to do a little re-writing that will send those characters back in the right direction.

2.  You just don't want to write. Sure, there can be many, many reasons for not being able to just sit at the keyboard and having the words flow. But often the problem is that you've hit a point in the plot where the story is going nowhere. You may need to read over your plot again to make certain that it is going where you want it. This might be a good time to re-evaluate your plot and whether it can work in the way you originally planned. It might be time to consider re-writing some of the earlier pages or planning changes in the plot.

3. The story is going in some totally foreign direction and you aren't sure why. Again, this may be
that your plot is not working. This is a good time to try re-writing a few pages and perhaps trying a new direction to see whether you like the re-write better than the original. If you do, then keep heading in that direction.

4. The villain is getting more important than the hero. This might be a function of not having the write characters in the right roles. Again, it might be time to make that hero stronger, or to change the direction of the villain. And if you're going to have a super-villain, great!  Just make certain you are setting up the story that way. That might mean a re-write of some of the earlier pages, but they might also be fun to write with this new bad guy.

5.  The motives are not coming through. Perhaps what you have your characters doing doesn't ring true. They wouldn't take those sort of risks for no reason. Perhaps you need to re-write those motives to make them stronger, or to make those changes in your characters to make them want something more. Motivation is a big factor for your characters' actions. You need to make them strong enough.

If you do find you have to do a re-write, don't despair. Next week, we'll look at how to make those re-writes work for you to come up with a stronger story.

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