Have you ever wondered how to rewrite your novel?
If you've started to write a novel, are you feeling stuck in the rewriting stage? Maybe you’re a little lost about how to go about improving this draft of your novel? That’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!
This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books.
TUNE IN NOW to discover the method I’m using to rewrite my current work-in-progress, a polyamorous romantic comedy novel entitled Small Town Stilettos: a modern marriage of convenience. —plus how you can apply this concept of how to rewrite your novel to your own manuscript...
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Hello and welcome back to Indie Author Weekly! This is the podcast for indie authors, aspiring authors, and curious bookworms who want the inside scoop, tips and motivation, and the behind-the-scenes journey of writing and self-publishing books. I’m your host, Sagan Morrow (or @Saganlives on Twitter & Instagram), and I’m a productivity strategist and an author of polyamorous romcoms.
Now, if you have started to write a novel, are you feeling stuck in the rewriting stage? Maybe you’re a little lost about how to go about improving this draft of your novel? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing on today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly!
For new and returning listeners, you can now get all Indie Author Weekly podcast episodes—plus updates on my writing projects—delivered directly to your inbox each week at SaganMorrow.com/behindthescenes… link is in the show notes.
Now let’s get into this episode of the Indie Author Weekly podcast. Today, I want to share about the method I’m using to rewrite my current work-in-progress, a polyamorous romantic comedy novel entitled Small Town Stilettos: a modern marriage of convenience. You can learn more about that novel by searching about it on Goodreads—link is in the show notes.
First of all, what IS rewriting? What does it mean to rewrite your novel?
Rewriting your novel is simply about improving it. You might be altering the word choices and sentence structure, starting to inject more humour into it, developing the character more, and building on subplots, for example.
When you’re working on rewrites, you likely have already written the first draft, and maybe even polished it up in a second draft. That’s where I’m currently at with Small Town Stilettos. I’m working on draft 3 or 4 at this point—it’s hard to say, though, because it’s not like I use a brand-new document with each draft. I just work with the same document each time.
Anyway, I sent this novel to beta readers back in December, after I’d completed a pretty solid first or second draft. The “meat” of the story was there, and I got beta readers at that point because I wanted to hear from them about what they wanted fleshed out more, and what was working for them and so on. You can learn about that experience with getting beta readers in Episode 104 of this Indie Author Weekly podcast.
Then I set my novel aside for quite a few months before recently returning to it—more on that in Episode 121, by the way.
So, when I returned to it, I knew I had a ton of rewrites, based on my time away, based on my beta feedback, based on a bunch of ideas and such I’d been mulling over.
Rewrites can feel daunting—but they don’t need to be! It’s all in your approach. And it has been fun and exhilarating to get back at it.
Here is the method I’m using right now for rewriting my novel—you might just find that you want to adopt it for rewriting your own novel in the future:
First, I went through all the beta reader feedback, and compiled the stuff I wanted to incorporate into a single Google doc in bullet points.
Second, I read through my entire novel to refresh my memory on it. As I went through it, any time I had questions or comments or ideas, I’d jot those down in a separate bullet-point list.
Third, I went back through the entire novel, and began to incorporate key ideas and new scenes to really build on them. At this point, I actually ended up combining chapters and moving some scenes around and deleting a couple subplots. A lot happened at this stage, which felt great.
Fourth, I went back to those bullet-point lists I’d created. I put them together into one document, and I’m going to now organize or categorize them based on plot points, scene ideas, character notes, and chronological order. That will likely take a while, especially because I currently have three full pages of notes.
After that, I’ll begin systematically going back through the novel, starting at Chapter 1, and incorporating all the notes and ideas and comments etc. that I had.
At the time of recording this episode, I don’t have access to a printer, so I’ll have to do this on the screen. Thank goodness for dual monitors! Normally, in the past with all of my other manuscripts, I’ve printed out my notes at this stage so I could easily cross things out and see the ideas on paper while I worked on my rewrites in the novel itself.
The next step of this process will be to go through each chapter and revise my chapter outline to include the top 3 - 5 plot points that take place in that chapter, so that I can clearly see exactly what happens. I’ll also include word count for each chapter, because I like my chapters to be roughly the same length.
Then I’ll likely go back through the entire thing and tighten it up some more with character development and story pacing and plot intrigue and so on, and then I’ll read through the entire manuscript to ensure everything is cohesive and I’m satisfied with the story and characters, and the I’ll do at least 3 rounds of editing—generally that’s at least 1 copy edit and 2 proofreads, but honestly my rule is to keep proofreading until I can only find 1 typo max in the entire manuscript.
Way back in Episode 15, I shared 10 tips for editing your own work, so I definitely recommend you tune into that episode for more details on that topic.
Whew. There you have it! That’s my system for rewriting and drafting and editing my current work-in-progress. I’ve booked my cover illustrator for this novel, and that design will likely be ready in October. So I want to have all of this finished by the end of September, so that I can get the Advance Reader Copy of the manuscript to book bloggers around then, and publish the book in November. That’s the idea!
I hope this method is helpful for you if you’re not sure where to go or what to do next while you’re in the thick of rewrites and drafting your manuscript.
All right. That, my friend, is a wrap for today’s episode of Indie Author Weekly! Access the show notes for this episode, including all links and additional resources, at SaganMorrow.com/podcast.
Thank you so much for tuning in. Please take 2 minutes to rate and review Indie Author Weekly on Apple Podcasts—I really appreciate your support.
Until next week, this is Sagan Morrow, signing off the Indie Author Weekly podcast.