So, for awhile my approach to revising stories, be they short or long, was to either literally revise in-text or to re-write from scratch. The latter was not…the best idea. To wit, I rewrote a 68k word story, to make it fit better with where the story had gone (which is now obsolete), and it ended up at 111k words, having only made it to 2/3rds of the original plot. In other words, it became even more rambling than before.
Recently I came across a suggestion that for revision one should rewrite, not from scratch, but from the already written story. Which I took to mean following its scenes and its order, rather than letting the story meander on a completely new path. (Nothing wrong with letting a revision go to new places, I think, but not letting it just be a new story.)
I’ve always had a puzzle with revision. If I rewrite completely, with only a loose thread, I’m afraid it’ll be a new (worse) story. But if I do the rewrite I read about, it becomes the struggle of not rewriting each scene word by word from what I just re-read so I can remember what’s in the each paragraph/scene.
I wish there was a step by step procedure that would let me know I’m hitting the right “marks” to let me know when I’m revising my story in the right way. Or getting my characters right. Or whatever I need to do. It’s not very clear.
How do I know if one sentence works better than another one? How do I know if one plot point works better than another?
And if I can figure that out, how do I….well, I was going to say, how do I revise? But I think I just have to do it. It may be tedious and repetitive if I’m just rewriting what’s already there, but it’d be worse to rewrite a new story that’s worse.
I feel like my brain, because it’s so geared to “parroting” text or audio, will want to retain what I re-read in my story. Which might be why revising in-text is easier for me. I make the revisions directly in the text by how it sounds or flows in the immediacy of me reading it. The trouble with that, though, is it doesn’t let me… Well, I’m not sure what, but I feel like there’s something.