It's Wrong, So Make It Right--Rewrite
A writer who is paying attention knows when something's wrong with a project. That knowledge does not come early on, and often not easily. For me, when the writing is ongoing, it is important to get the main story down, and details almost have to be left fuzzy. I am an insistent advocate of "rest time" for a first-draft manuscript, time (like a month) in a drawer or on a CD so I see it with fresh eyes. Any MS needs multiple rereadings by the author before anyone else ever sees it. Like your child, you should want your writing to be as beautiful as possible when the world sees it.

Multiple re-reads allow a commited author to notice the things that aren't logical, places that need rewriting. There are times when I'd rather not. (Why can't I stretch credibility a little? Even great writers have done it. For example, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. How many times can two people accidentally stumble into each other in one lifetime?)So I may be tempted to gloss over why the protag goes to a particular spot. Or how she happens to leave her cell phone at home. Or when she chooses to go there, it is where the murderer is, too, by some odd chance. But as I go back over the piece, each time looking for different types of errors, those places feel weak. They need fixing. They need rewriting.

I just finished the edit of my January release, THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY. The editor found more things that needed rewriting, and that's to be expected. No author I know is capable of judging her own work alone. It takes an educated and committed editor to finish the job, acting as objective reader and polisher. So even after I'd read the piece and rewritten the weak spots I found, I was in for more work. However, I know the book gets stronger each time I read again, write again, examine again.

Rewriting is not a lot of fun, and the mark of an amateur is unwillingness to do it. Many would rather stagger onward and write more junk than go back and make that first draft into something worthwhile. For me, the term "writer" might be more correctly termed "rewriter". It is the people who are willing to reread and rewrite, many times, who produce excellent books.

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