Rewriting – Parts Two And Three

As mentioned in my last post I’ve been doing a major rewrite of Wildwood since the 14th of August. Unhappy with the way the book jumped around within chapters, I edited the entire format of the book, breaking it down into scenes and then writing each chapter as a plan that uses those scenes as well as new material to bridge them together. It’s been tough going but with these two parts done I’m about a third of the way into the story.

At the beginning of this exercise I saw this as merely a rearrangement, placing scenes in a new order and removing some others. It would be a quick job and require only a couple of word changes. As I got further into it I found myself writing as much as I was reordering. Each chapter had a new plan written that included some of the scenes I’d written as well as new content, and I moved those scenes into a folder with the plan to more easily write them. When each chapter was content complete I edited and rewrote entire chunks of it, so that it flowed a lot better, sometimes cutting out far more than was left and sometimes making a single line extend to a few paragraphs of detail.

As I went on I tried to bring some of my ancillary characters to the forefront a bit more, and gave them new scenes and motivations making them more than the deus ex machina they had been. Sometimes these people had small scenes extended into entirely new chapters and sometimes a hell of a lot of what was previously written was cut out. I knew not to cut entirely though and have been moving those cut pieces forwards to the next chapter with those characters, cherry-picking phrases and details that suit the chapter best and trying to work as much in as possible. Quite often these are the parts that benefit the most when I do my final edit on the chapter and rewrite the whole thing paragraph for paragraph.

At the moment I’ve just finished writing chapter 28 of my current revision, and am up to chapter 21 of my original manuscript (the original finished with 36 chapters). As you can no doubt tell there is quite a bit of new material, but also quite a bit of extraneous stuff removed. The largest subplot doesn’t get fully resolved until the third book and barely gets a mention in book 2 so I’ve removed it from Wildwood and will introduce it in book 2 instead, with a few hints in Wildwood that it will be coming. A side story involving a magical weapon was just bloody ridiculous once I read through it again so that also got removed. The vast majority of these subplots were contained in parts 2 & 3 so I found myself worried they’d be too light on content.

As it happens, even with these stories removed there is still a hell of a lot going on in these chapters and I may still have to remove one of my favourite subplots in order to make it flow better. With the other two subplots in place it was just messy and nothing really had room to happen naturally, which is an odd thing to say when talking about supernatural events.

As I said, chapter 22 and onwards of my original book is still waiting to be written (as chapters 29 and onwards of the new manuscript). These last four parts are only a few chapters each as we head towards the ending, and some of those are quite small. I know there is a lot of new stuff introduced that needs to be played off in these chapters but it shouldn’t take quite as long as the other parts have done as they total about a third of the book.

I probably won’t be writing another one of these until the chapters are completed in front of me. Of course, I’ll be having a KFC in front of me at the same time to celebrate. I actually quit the chicken of the gods while writing until I have a draft stage complete, keeping this ambrosia as a reward for actually finishing what I’ve started.

See you next time guys, girls and dark gods of R’lyeh.

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10 thoughts on “Rewriting – Parts Two And Three

    • Trust me, I’ve probably eaten more chicken than anyone in the world. Nandos nasty peri peri obsession is nothing compared to the feeling of pouring hot sauce into a bucket of extra crispy (not done in this country any more) or even regular fried chicken. In fact, I’ve yet to find a peri peri anything that tastes as good as southern fried chicken skin. It’s all foot flavoured with a hint of lemon here.

      • You should try my recipe. The skin becomes so crispy, that it disappears altogether in your mouth and leaves a flavour that will make you feel like sitting down, even if you’re already sitting down. It does not come in a cardboard bucket, though. So, if you absolutely need to eat your dinner out of a cardboard bucket, I’m afraid I can’t help you. On any level.

        Joke aside, are you enjoying every part of this journey, or are you regretting that you went on it? Do you, in your own opinion, have it in you to become a versed writer, or does it stop with this experiement?

        • The whole thing has been a learning experience, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. There have been some struggles, some words that just won’t come to me, and some times when people just won’t shut the fuck up when I’m trying to write, but that’s to be expected. The fact of the matter is I have these stories to tell and some level of mastery in the medium I can best tell them in. It will happen whether I want it to or not.

          As for going further, during a break I did write a small book in a week, which will be going up here as a free PDF at some point. I have some complete(ish) stories and plenty of ideas that I can continue with. I keep learning with each paragraph. Whether I’m learning well or not is another matter, but I do feel like I’m improving things with this rewrite.

  1. I think that you should not try to make it perfect, that way I’m afraid, you might never finish it. After you complete the whole story, give it to someone (professional ?) to read it and give you opinion on how it’s going and what should be changed or added.
    However, I have no experience of writing books so this might be a bad idea, after all :left:

    • Trying to perfect something is always a balance between time and realism. Realism is usually depicted in monetary terms as budgets, advances or wages. At some point you simply have to declare something is done because otherwise you’ll lose money on it. I’ve always been pretty good at looking at projects in terms of potential return and deciding a cut off based on that.

      In this case, once this rewrite is done I’m giving it to Kim to read through to see if there are things she doesn’t understand or any obvious mistakes. Those comments will be taken into account on a final editing run through the book.

      However, before I get to that I’m going to start work on the next book while Kim is reading this one. I’ll keep her comments to be a surprise for that editing run which will take place while the second book is in the cooler waiting for it to be fresh to me. The discipline I’ve gained on this first book should mean that the second doesn’t need a major rewrite in this way but I’m not ruling it out entirely.

      Finally, once all three are done I’ll be going through them and tying them together a bit more tightly, making sure that running themes don’t appear out of nowhere and everything left hanging is sorted out or tied up in some way or other.

      • “In this case, once this rewrite is done I’m giving it to Kim to read through to see if there are things she doesn’t understand or any obvious mistakes.”
        Yes, I thought that you should do that 🙂

        • Always good to have a second opinion. Besides, as a non-reader it’ll be interesting to monitor her progress through the book.

          I’ll be sharing Google Docs versions of each chapter with her, and she’ll add comments to it whenever she catches spelling mistakes or the story throws her. Hopefully each confusion will be followed soon with a comment on how she now understands due to new info. Those that aren’t will be looked into and a little more care taken with them.

    • I will be sharing side media here though. I wrote five short stories to lead into the first book and get a better idea of the characters I’m dealing with. Those aren’t presentable yet but I’ll happily edit them and run them as a serial over time in between books.

      On top of that I have a book fully written and in need of basic formatting at the moment that is a fun read, if not the standard I’m aiming for in this project. It’s entirely unrelated to this project and should be appearing soon enough for download.

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