The Jan Plan

Check out Christa’s site for details

So during NaNo, I was thinking about what to work on next. Of course there are revisions for my NaNo story, but I thought maybe I could tackle another one of my shelved projects. I love them all and hope to get to them sometime.
And now I have the perfect opportunity to do this. Christa Desir has invited us to join her in the Jan Plan. From her site.
“The Jan Plan will involve committing to finish one project. One. However you define “finish”. Just doing what you have to do to get one project out of your unfinished knitting basket.”
Now that sounds easy. No pressure. You define the finish line.
And I’m in. But now I have a question.
The WIP I picked needs a lot of work. When I read through it last month, there was quite a bit of, shall we say… telling. (I wrote this about 2 years ago before I knew anything about writing.) And there is a ton of backstory upfront and a lot of narrative and not much action.

Image courtesy of Ningmilo

So I started wondering, maybe I should do a total rewrite. Open up a new document, have it next to the original, and start over? My original work would be sort of an outline, then and maybe this would be easier than making the changes inside the original.
Or do I go back into the original document and change things paragraph by paragraph?
I’ve never done this before, so I don’t know the best way to handle it. Have you done a total rewrite? I don’t foresee major plot changes, it’s mostly just the writing style.
Do you have any advice on the best way to do it?

8 Responses

  1. I’ve been doing something like a total rewrite on an old Nano recently. What I do is start with a scene, open a new document and copy into it the parts of that scene which I like and want to keep, and then sort of write around those parts using the rest as an outline. =)

  2. I’m writing the fourth version of my current novel and it’s the first version where I haven’t started from scratch! I always do at least the second draft from scratch and often the third as well. If you have big changes to make it’s the only way – even if the plot is staying the same. You just don’t spot the things that could be better through copy and paste – when you have to type it out again you really think about whether that’s what you want to be typing.

    I reccommend reading it all through making notes on any actual plot and structural changes you need to do and where. And then take it chapter at a time, marking all the obvious changes you’re going to make to the actual sentences themselves and typing it out from scratch (and you’ll probably make even more changes when you do). Definitely more time consuming but it’ll save you getting to the end and realising that you’ve just got a slightly more slick version of the book with all the same problems! Good luck!

  3. I think on Friday on WU there was a post about revisions which gave a structured method to attack Nano novels. Cathy Yardley (the writer) also has a book called Rock Your Revisions. The lady whose one hour plot book I bought also has a revisions book. I’m pretty sure neither of the books are over $4.00 on Amazon. 🙂

  4. Rachel Schieffelbein

    I’m with Alice. Copy and paste what you want to keep from the old and rewrite the rest. That’s what worked best for me anyway. (I’ve done it once.)

  5. I would definitely start in a new .doc, but copy and paste the parts you want to keep. Then fill in from there. It’s hard–I’ve done this before! Lots of love your way!

    (And I love Christa!)

  6. When I did my rewrite (or a thousand, lol) I started with a blank page. There were lines from the previous version that made it into the nice new one, and the plot was the same, but how the mc got from one place to the next was different. Basically, it was two different books, with the same characters. So highlight lines you love, dialog you love, and so on and so forth and then find places for them when you’re rewriting. You could be in the middle of a scene and go, “Oh! that one line would go great here.” Then stick it in 🙂

    Good luck! Rewrites are hard, but very worth it 😀

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