The Writing Advice No One Wants to Hear

I read a blog post once about ‘the writing advice you’re going to hate’ or ‘the worst writing advice ever’. In it, the author told his readers to write their book, then re-write it.

Yep, you read that right. Write. It. All. Over. Again.

I, like many readers, scoffed and thought, ‘that’s cool but I’m never going to do that. I can barely get through a draft.’

Yet, here I am.

The Book is not finished, let me be clear about that. A rough opening, middle and ending are out there, but I’m struggling a bit with the middle scenes and what to do with a certain character or two.

So, in an effort to focus on my main character (MC) and let her drive things (can you tell I’m currently reading The Art of Character?), I’m starting from the beginning and revising.

It starts out like this:

This original sentence is so good oh my god.

It ends up like this:

This original sentence is so good oh my god.

*Insert the same sentence but written a million times better*

Now, I’m not re-writing in the sense of blank slate, new Scrivener project, 100% brand new. But I’m finding that I’m re-writing more than I’m changing a word or two.

There have been entire scenes that needed re-done, because I realized how untrue to the MC they were. The original, bare-bones sentences just didn’t seem to have much oomph to them, but when I re-wrote, there was a little spark. A little extra oomph (yes, that is my technical term).

The writing advice no one wants to hear is this: you may have to re-write. A lot. More than you ever thought. Even if it makes you cry, scream, slam the keys on the keyboard, drink too much, stay locked in your room for days, whatever your go-to “THIS SUCKS” action is.

You may have to re-write.

And that’s okay.

The first draft of writing for many writers is just getting the thoughts out of your head, putting them somewhere so you don’t go crazy. There’s nothing wrong with going back and making them sound better. There’s nothing wrong with changing things, even if it’s going in a direction you didn’t anticipate.

Go ahead, surprise yourself.

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