Thursday, June 21, 2012

When is it revision and when is it a rewrite?

I saw this topic on a blog recently and it got me to thinking: when IS it just another revision and when do you call what you're doing a rewrite? Here's my take on it:


Revision--a couple major changes; things can be cut and added but no more than half of your overall story or concept changed; and/or characters may come or go.


Rewrite--you're cutting more than half your story; your characters look nothing like when they started; your plot is practically unrecognizable from the first draft; and/or you're adding a boatload of new words, doubling the length of your story.


I think I've done a little of both with this story because what I'm revising now looks nothing like what I started with, besides a few main elements. I thought it might have series potential but now it's a standalone. I started with a male MC and now he's a girl (without the sex-change operation!). I started over in Paris but moved back to the states. I started in first person but now it's third. Yeah, I think there's been at least one major rewrite with this WIP. 


At the moment, I'm doing a bit of revising, playing with what's already written, changing some things, deleting some characters. But the story's genre morphed from a YA action/adventure with a touch of kissing into more of a YA romantic comedy. Once I thought of it as a rom-com, things just fell into place. Of course, that means that I need to add the male MC's POV in to balance out the romantic part. His point of view will also help answer some sticky "why" questions, I think. So, I consider that part of it to be rewriting.


Can you do both at once? I *think* so...I'll have to let you know how it goes. (All things considered, with the addition of another person's POV, this is technically more of a rewrite.)


What do you all think? When is it a rewrite and when is it just revision?



9 comments:

  1. Could it be that you saw it on my blog yesterday? Because that's what I wrote about. ;-)

    In a way, revisions and rewrites can happen at the same time, but on the other hand, you might as well be considered a rewrite, since a rewrite encapsulates edits and revisions within the process.

    Rewriting is a form of revision, but revision isn't a rewrite. Just like revisions are a form of edits, but edits can't be a revision. Does that make sense?

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    1. LOL--it is entirely possible! I know I read it in a couple of places and thought, hey! That's what I'm going through right now. I think I'll write about it. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

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  2. I'd say rewriting constitutes writing from scratch whereas revisions imply that you'll be using the whole main body of text and just making changes here and there.

    I'd call anything more than a 20% difference from the original a rewrite and everything else a revision.

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  3. Interesting perspective. A rewrite makes me feel really tired right now, maybe because I'm already overwhelmed by revisions!

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    1. I know, right? It's exhausting to think about.

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  4. Revisions I can deal with - rewrites terrify me - and might reduce me to tears... :)

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    1. I've been reduced to procrastination...I think I'd rather have tears!

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  5. Oh, I love the picture!!!!!
    My WIP is finally just in the revision stage. I think I've rewritten it twice, but I'm actually very happy with how it's finally coming together :)

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