Monday, October 12, 2009

Rewriting is easy

I love rewriting. LOVE. I know, it's weird. I'm weird. But I love rewriting.

I tried really hard to be one of those people who planned the shit out of my story. I do the whole index card thing, I do thorough character bios, I spend weeks or even months plotting out the details of every story.

But somehow no matter how much I plan, my characters still change over the course of the story. I just plat it all out onto the screen and don't edit much most of the time. Sometimes if a scene really bothers me I will go back a day later and rewrite it, but most of the time I just ignore the suck and continue.

Last night I told the Beefcake I'd finished my vomit draft and he asked how many pages ti came to. 79. "Seventy nine!" he said with amazement. "That's madness!" Trust me, by the time I'm done editing, I'll have a full script. My vomit draft is usually in the 70s or 80s.

I basically consider the vomit draft a really detailed outline with dialogue. But now I know where my characters are going. I understand them better. I think I just needed to watch them in action before I knew exactly what they were up to.

That's why I love rewriting. Now I take my 79 pages and fix them. The scaffolding is there and I have some scenes that are just fine the way they are, but the fun part of rewriting is seeing what doesn't work and fixing it piece by piece. I find it goes much faster to rewrite existing scenes than it does to write them the first time, especially since I know see exactly what everybody's up to.

For instance, I had a character I introduced on a whim as I was writing the vomit draft - a kid named Patrick. Patrick was supposed to have one scene and then go away. But twenty pages later I realized that I needed a character to step in and shoot at one of my leads and the guy I'd originally thought of just didn't work, so I thought of Patrick. But having Patrick shoot my lead means I have to alter his personality, and it means I have to bring him back a couple more times between the first scene he's in and the time when he shoots at my lead. So on a rewrite I just change the dialogue I already wrote to accommodate his new personality. Then as I go, here and there I can inject him into a scene I already have in order to add foreshadowing an to remind us that he's around and has some residual anger toward my lead.

Easy peasy.


  1. Cool... After the vomit comes the cleanup.


  2. Anonymous4:35 AM

    Me too, adore the rewriting process. Vomit draft -- love it!

  3. Ha, apparently I vomited my way through college. I almost never outline anything, I rough draft and go back later. It can save a ton of time if you can do it well


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