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September 13, 2013 / anthonykzullo

3 Reasons Why You Should Rewrite Your First Draft

After the first draft, some writers turn to editing right away, but for me and a lot of other writers, rewriting is actually a better option.  How so?  You might ask.  Here’s three reasons for you to consider rewriting your first draft before you start editing.

1.  The typical first draft of a novel is usually brain vomit

Yeah, it’s true.  First drafts of novels often are brimming with ugly inconsistencies, poor dialogue,  and brain farts.

Ugly Inconsistencies

This is when that blonde, side character you had in the beginning of the story suddenly becomes a brunette; or when you rename your character halfway through the book; or when your character has an English accent in the beginning and then an Australian accent in the end.  That’s when you’re rooted, mate!

Poor Dialogue

Need I say more?  Sometimes, when an author first writes a story, they struggle to let themselves slip into the character’s thought process, or they don’t really realize who the character is until the end of the book.

Big Tip:  Space travel in your novel?  Fine!  Superheroes saving the world in spandex?  Okay!  Necrophiliac  dark elves… sure, whatever!  But create poor dialogue, and you’ve killed the believability of your novel.  Fix it now.  Before you let it out in the world and kill your baby!

Brain Farts

What are brain farts in writing?  Well, they come in many forms:

  • Clichés

    When someone uses an overused phrase like, “It’s raining cats and dogs.”

  • Get Out of Jail Free Card

    When at the end of a novel, a character gets out of a scenario without trying.  Like, “And since luck who have had it, that weird character from the beginning of the book was really Superman in disguise! “

  • Skimping on the Climax

    Don’t do it!  Every readers wants a satisfying climax that is worthy of the build up you created.  They want to be emotionally charged.  Make them laugh.  Make them cry.  Make them want to die.  In the end, just make them feel something that they don’t get to feel everyday.  Don’t just say.  “Then Arthur stabbed the dragon, and everyone was saved and lived happily ever after.”  That’s pathetic!

2.  Rewriting lets your brain fill in the gaps and helps your novel shine

When you read your first draft, don’t despair.  You can really turn that word vomit into art just by rewriting it!  Really!

Rewrites are very important.  They give your brain the chance to really go through each and every word that you’re crafting.  This way you can fix those plot holes and iron out that bad dialogue or poor character description.  Your brain gets another run with it and will do better the second time around.

3.  Some of the best authors rewrite

Garth Nix and Stephen King both rewrite their first drafts.  Learn from the great ones.  Rewriting is powerful!

So you might be wondering why rewrite when you can just edit it.  Editing is different.  The words are kind of stuck a certain way when they sit right in front of you, and often times, you’ll still want to follow the format, sentence structure, or wording that you’ve already created.  Rewriting lets the words be more malleable, and thus, you make them better.  First rewrite, then edit your heart out!

Anthony Zullo is a novel writer who aims to self-publish his book in late 2013 or early 2014 The Guardian’s Charge:  Book I of the Bloodborn Series, which is a paranormal/dark urban fantasy about what happens when the six alien Gods of Niburu return to Earth to decide the fate of all Life.  To follow his pondering thoughts and to communicate with him, check out his twitter @anthonykzullo.

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