7 Rewriting Tips (From Me to Myself)

Portrait of a woman writing

For me, rewriting is harder than writing. Writing is fast, fun, and although not easy, it often flows. By contrast, rewriting is slow and often tedious – it involves little creation and a lot of tinkering.

When I rewrite, I try to get into a different state of mind. If I don’t, and I approach the story with the same creative attitude I had when I wrote it, I don’t spot the sentences that need to be rewritten. I end up proofreading rather than rewriting.

As this month I will be rewriting my story, I’ve decided to give myself some tips. I note them here so I will not forget them.

  1. Rewrite several weeks after finishing the last draft. Although I have not put aside the story, I have not worked on it that much lately. Next week I will not touch it at all, to make it feel fresh when I start rewriting it.
  2. Rewrite at a different time of day. I wrote in the early hours of the morning, and before noon. Now I will rewrite it in the morning, but also in the afternoon and evening.
  3. Rewrite in another room. I wrote my story in my bedroom. I will rewrite it in the kitchen.
  4. Rewrite on a different device. I handwrote my first draft, and typed the other drafts on a netbook. Now I will rewrite on a laptop.
  5. Rewrite in one big file. So far I have divided my story into chapters, and worked on each separately, one at a time. Now I’ve compiled all chapter files into one big file.
  6. Rewrite using a different font. I’ve chosen NanumMyeongjo for the rewrite – it’s similar to Times New Roman, but lighter.
  7. Rewrite the story backwards. The rewrite this month will be linear, but the one I will do in September will be from the last chapter to the first, to see whether the storyline holds together.

What rewriting tips would you give me?

31 thoughts on “7 Rewriting Tips (From Me to Myself)

  1. Thank you for stopping by ritaLOVEStoWRITE. I hope you liked the posting on Marjorie K. Rawlings and that you’ll drop by again. I enjoyed your writing tips and the 50-Word Stories. Keep up the good work. Cheers, Rita

      1. Thank you, I made it myself. It’s my Regency hat to go with my Regency dress. I recently went to a Jane Austen event.

        Also, may I say, “right back at you” hat wise. 🙂

  2. I’d actually say rewrite half year later, when you don’t remember the story well, and go through it like a reader not author. But I guess that would be too long to wait…


    Get to know someone new who fascinates you. Best if that person also creates. It changes the perspective to life and may develop your story in a way you wouldn’t even imagine.

    Open yourself to new music.
    Watch a meaningful movie that you might not understand fully.
    Read “East of Eden” ;). Ok, not necessarily.

    Observe people and nature while you travel. They always tell stories.

    Make photos from unusual angels. It will change your way of looking.

    Eat new things, take a trip.

    Think of your story in another language.

    I don’t know if all this will help you in rewriting. But I’m sure it will develop you and open your mind a bit. And I think that should also help in rewriting.

    1. I think forgetting the story before rewriting it is important, but six months is too much for me. 😦

      I don’t really travel anywhere. 😦
      I eat pasta and Swedish meatballs daily. I have been eating them for about two years.
      I listen to almost any kind of music.
      I am rigid in my habits, like an old man. 😦

      As to meeting someone who fascinates me, well, I have found someone peculiar, the female version of myself! Married with children, old enough to be my mother, and she lives in dizzy American she does! She has recently accused me of flirting with her though 😦 I’m thinking of some way to impress her so she would accept to read the first chapter of my story.

      Come to think about it, I see a woman with a hat in front of me now! And she writes well herself, and like all women with hats, she is interesting. 😉 And this is not flirting!

  3. #7 is one you can expand out – don’t rewrite, reassemble, rewrite in the second person, in each scene imagine it is a movie and re-position the camera. Then, don’t rewrite. Leave it three months and come back and see if it is still valid, stuff and junk like that.

    1. I’ll try that, especially for my second story, the one I will be writing next year.

      I’ve decided to keep my first story linear. I want it to be simple.

      1. Yes, you can try – the beauty of it is you don’t have to keep it but at least, next time you are stuck on a passage or a situation, you have an alternative way to go.

  4. Your methods of mixing it up are wise, sir. Stories aren’t always linear, nor should their creations be linear.

    Life, itself, is not linear, either. It is chaos, affected from all dimensions, with stories we return to in preparation for the stories we experience years from now.

  5. All great ideas! Writing the story backwards is by far the most interesting way of editing I’ve ever heard of. I’m writing my novel now, and wonder what you do in the case of longer works? Do you re-write by chapter?

    I find it hard not to edit. I so far have edited all three of the three chapters finished. lol I will try to resist the urge to edit constantly as I struggle to get through my 500 words today. Thanks for always having writing ideas :).

    1. Yes, I rewrite each chapter separately. I have 70,000 words, a novel I would say.

      I don’t like to edit right away because I would be disappointed all day with my writing. 😦

  6. What an interesting post and thread you’ve got here! 🙂 and my advise would be… Don’t be afraid to let go of some words and phrases, no matter how precious they may be to you. I hope that makes sense! Lol

    1. That’s great advice actually. I will try to do that, though I’m not sure I’m that brave.

      I remember you well. You are the girl with the wandering guitar! Do you remember Matilda?

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