The Rewrite Chronicles - Entry One

I thought it might be fun if I tracked the progress of my epic rewrite of Ghost!Story. I've never done a rewrite like this, and so far, the process is proving trickier than expected. I'm learning to let go of moments and scenes I love, rather than shoehorning them into a plot that no longer requires them. It's hard, but I'm getting there.

Today, I'm going to break down the hows and whys.

Why The Rewrite?

I need to be ready for when I start my Golden Egg Foundation Course in January next year! I'm so excited!

I applied to join the Golden Egg Academy, and recently received an editorial report from them. The editor made a suggestion I couldn't ignore, even though it means completely changing a key aspect of the main character, which in turn means the whole book has to be rewritten. It was a little daunting, but the more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I also ran the advice I got past the lovely Emma Maree, because I always appreciate her input. Once I made the decision to go ahead with it, I threw myself into the biggest rewrite of my writing career.

Didja Make A Plan?

For the events of the story? Kind of. I sat down and wrote a plot log to see how I could change things. And it looked good! The plot flowed nicely, and my main character had some decent motivation - something I'm really mindful of based on the editorial report I received. But when I started the process of actually rewriting the book, that plot log stopped being relevant. I kept trying to cling onto things from the original version that simply would not work. I'm glad I wrote out that idea log though, because it enabled me to consider multiple options... Sure, most of them won't get used, but it was fun to take the time to consider all sorts of possibilities.

Once a pantser, always a pantser.

However, I haven't abandoned my logistical rewrite plan. Right now I'm writing a rough first draft. I'm hoping to get that done by the end of December. I've started a new document and I'm moving over the chapters I can keep and those I need to edit from the original version into this new draft. I'm writing new scenes separately to see if they work and then adding them to the main document. I've deleted tens of thousands of words, but they're being steadily replaced by others. Based on the synopsis I put together for my Writer's HQ course, I'm also moving chapters around to smooth the flow of the story.

Once this rough draft is complete, I'm going to stick the book on my Kindle and read over it. I'll be using reference cards for each chapter to 1) summarise the events of the chapter and 2) what needs further tweaking. I'm so excited about getting to the reference card part of this rewrite, I have them sitting on my desk in anticipation :D

(Thanks for the fantastic mug, Laura!)

From there, I'll put together another draft ready in time to take to my first workshop at the end of January.

Is It Worth It?

Yes, absolutely. Despite how daunting it is to know that 1) I have to completely rewrite a book I've queried and 2) it's highly unlikely I'll query at all in 2017, as soon as I read over the editorial report, I knew it was a change worth making. Based on what I've done so far, I'd say forty percent of the original material will remain. The rest is all going to be new. And I'm going to have the chance to work on this with professional editors. I absolutely had to do this.

When I was working on my coursework for my Writer's HQ course, I started to suspect my plot was a tad convoluted because I had to skip so much stuff in order to make my synopsis flow. But I carried on because, well, I've had a few full requests, so surely the book is as good as it can be. But when a professional editor says "you've got potential, but your main character needs to do this instead", you damn well listen. The only reluctance I felt was a "uuugh, this is gonna be so. much. work". I'm so excited to be changing Conspiracy of Echoes. I love this book, and I want it to find its way to bookshop shelves. This rewrite is my best chance.

I'll keep posting these, and I'll share what I can about the Foundation Year course in case you guys are thinking of signing up for it in the future. It's going to be a lot of hard work, but I know it's going to be worth it.


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