11 Best Ways to Rewrite a Book

Rewriting is a necessary part of the writing process. Novice…

Rewriting is a necessary part of the writing process. Novice and experienced writers alike must learn to master the art of rewriting.

Most times, the thought of going back and doing it all over again might be draining. After completing your lovely story, all you want to do is finish it and call it a day.

However, It is possible to rework your book enjoyably and simply. Here are a few pointers to help the process go more smoothly.

person holding open book viewing mountain view
Photo by Kourosh Qaffari on Unsplash

It takes a lot of effort to go back and rewrite something. But then, it’s liberating and rewarding. It’s exhilarating to raise your narrative to its maximum potential, slash its weaknesses, and bolster its virtues!

What Does it Mean to Rewrite a Book?

Rewriting is the process of going through a rough draft and adjusting anything that doesn’t work. From changing the word choice in a single sentence to eliminating entire sections that sound like fillers, etc. 

Rewriting is the portion of the editing process that typically refers to the substantial alterations that constitute a fresh draft. If you put significant effort into your rewrite, a good piece of writing can be elevated to the level of excellence.

Why is Rewriting Fundamental in the Writing Process?

When you’re writing something for the first time, you will likely not know where things are going until you’ve completed the entire work. 

Once you’ve completed your first rough draft, you can begin rewriting, using what you’ve learned from the initial draft to strengthen subsequent versions. Rewriting is about discovering surprises along the route and revealing the story’s structure.

Even though everyone’s revising process is unique, here are steps to assist you in making the rewriting journey much more effortless.

1. Allow the manuscript take a nap

You’ve completed the first draft of your written work, but something about it is unsatisfactory to you. Perhaps a character lacks depth, or one of your main ideas is dull.

It might be challenging to discern whether something is genuinely dull or whether you’ve simply become tired of it. This is why it’s crucial to take a break from a project before altering it. Before reworking, try setting the text aside for a few weeks or months. Even a little pause might refresh your perspective later on.

Do not rush to dissect your story, even if you already know its flaws, as you type “The End.” It allows you to see the tale more objectively since it removes you from the situation emotionally and mentally. It also helps you to rehabilitate your creative muscles.

2. Identify the issues in your story

Don’t think about your narrative while you’re waiting, but let it simmer in the back of your mind. Writing down a quick note whenever:

  • You’re struck with a new idea for a new addition
  • There’s a realization of a scene
  • A character that doesn’t quite fit is a great way to keep track of your thoughts as you revise your novel.

To do this, make a map of your book to understand better the entire tale, including which parts work and which don’t.

Make a list of all of your chapters and scenes, with each one numbered sequentially. Consider each scene’s significance and impact as you go. Scenes that can be cut, those that can be combined, and those that need improvement can be marked with highlighters.

3. Break down your piece

Do not worry about “breaking” your piece. Most likely, a rewrite will improve your work, not degrade it. Expect the initial draft to require significant revision. Include a brief explanation of the work to be done next to each scene’s designation:

Frequently, all the elements of an excellent piece are there. Occasionally, a rewrite involves less rewriting and more rearrangement, diving deeper, slowing down and speeding up there, etc.

During subsequent readings of your manuscript, determine what is not working. Don’t be hesitant to alter your first chapters or primary characters. Perhaps the notion requires development, removal, integration with the preceding scene, eliminating a minor character, etc.

This is all part of the editing process and can be aggravating. But do not abandon your notion.

4. Pretend to be someone else

When you return to your manuscript to edit it, you should pretend you have never read it before.

Imagine you are someone else totally, such as your best friend or your ideal reader. Read your writing as if you were that person. What would be their reaction? Rather than focusing on perfection, concentrate on the tale.

5. Consider feedbacks

You will eventually need to present your work to others. A fresh reader can provide valuable feedback, but it can be challenging to locate a good one.

You’ll want to find someone who likes your writing style and won’t laud your work simply because they love you. In other words, you need someone who is somewhat impartial.

Other writers are frequently an excellent choice for readers. They comprehend what makes a novel successful and where it might be enhanced.

Frequently, you might arrange a trade in which you read their manuscript in exchange. Consider the advice of your editors and readers and act accordingly. Each concept may not work, but determining that is a powerful lesson in and of itself. Sometimes, you discover what is correct by determining what is wrong.

6. Edit to improve flow

Sometimes it is difficult to determine when a document is complete. You may have an entire manuscript, but realize that you dislike it. Do not spend excessive time editing the same issue areas repeatedly.

This is a form of procrastination that will typically exacerbate your frustration. Seek a balance: Edit to improve your work, but don’t edit so much that you destroy the novel’s original enchantment.

7. Line-by-line review

Once satisfied with your draft, conduct a line-by-line review of the language, formatting, and style. Look for passages where the writing appears off — perhaps it’s sloppy or something is overblown — or where a character acted out of character.

Look for passages that rely too heavily on conversation or exposition, and attempt to balance them. Follow your instincts to where something doesn’t feel right, then return to them later for corrections.

8. Create a color-coding system

Create a color-coding system to monitor the status of your writing. Mark the writing you are pleased with in blue. The writing you are uncertain about in green, and the writing you know needs improvement in red.

As you revise your text, your objective will be to achieve green status for every section. Having color cues and a specific purpose can transform the editing process from a tiresome chore into a challenge.

9. Go through your checklist

When you have completed the first draft of your novel, utilize the following editing checklist: What is my primary dramatic query? What sections have pacing issues (such as excessive talk and exposition)?

What areas do I need to strengthen my primary narrative? Does my conclusion address the key dramatic question? What elements of my narrative are redundant and distracting? Your responses may necessitate substantial modifications.

10. Read aloud

As you progress through increasingly refined drafts of your writing, read the words out loud. This will assist you in editing and refining your own writing.

Your eyes may gloss over grammatical flaws, odd sentence structure, and typos while reading your own words on a computer screen or on paper.

However, by reading your work aloud, you can spot these errors. The only caution is that you should not do too much at once, otherwise the listener will lose interest.

11. Print a copy

When you return to the manuscript, attempt to print a hard copy. This can bring you closer to the experience of the reader. This not only provides space for making notes on trouble areas, but also has an effect on how you read stories.

Conclusion

Making a mess of your prized artwork is never fun. Save your manuscript as a new one before doing anything else, so as to retain all of your original brilliance. You can always return to the first draft if you change your mind.

It takes a lot of effort to go back and rewrite something. But then, it’s liberating and rewarding. It’s exhilarating to raise your narrative to its maximum potential, slash its weaknesses, and bolster its virtues!

11 Best Ways to Rewrite a Book

Pam is an expert grammarian with years of experience teaching English, writing and ESL Grammar courses at the university level. She is enamored with all things language and fascinated with how we use words to shape our world.

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