Have you ever thrown out an MS and rewritten the story from page 1?
Yesterday, Nevena posted a Member Spotlight with Rachel Anne Marks, who's writing and workshopping her YA novel GOLDEN here on Book Country. I loved what Rachel had to say about coming back to the manuscript after spending a year away from it due to health reasons. (What she had to say about this was really interesting and inspiring, check it out if you have a second.) She tossed what she had and rewrote it from page 1.
This is something I actually have a bad habit of doing: starting over again and again and again. I am addicted to how freeing it is! (It does make the writing process incredibly slow if you don't eventually get serious about at least one of these drafts.)
Anyway, I am curious to see if any other writers on BC have done this, and how it felt. Share below!
Given that I read this while working on the third draft of Crossing The Ice, I'd have to say yes. I've been fighting the opening of that book for a while, on top of re-writing chunks of the plot, so it's not really a huge surprise that I've been redrafting it.
The problem with the first draft was that I'd managed to whack in a unnecessary subplot about trusting some of the characters that I really didn't want and it was so big that replacing it was easier than fixing it. The second draft? That was just too slow.
I wrote a short story once of a bar fight ending in a murder, told from the POV of a witness in the bar. After reading a few comments, I rewrote the story, narrated this time by the killer. Most of the people who read both preferred the latter, so the exercise worked.
I think we often hold onto our drafts for a long time because seeing the word counts helps us to validate the time spent. But I think it's very productive to throw out and start from scratch if it just feels like it's not the right book.
Interesting to know others feel this way, too!
When I worked as an editor, the rule of thumb is a revise is at least 30% changed. When I revise, I triple that. My friends joke that I change so much that the story goes from draft one to draft three. I literally change every single word. I, in a way, count that as throwing out a MS and rewriting the story from page one.
I have, however, done the whole thing. With Childhood, the novel I've been working on since I was eleven. I've restarted it over fifty times, changing the story, the characters, everything. I've never seen it as bad. Sometimes a story just doesn't want to be written. Forcing it never got me anywhere, so I just kind of let those stories go until they want work.