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Thread: How do you add major details without rewriting?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW jasperd's Avatar
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    How do you add major details without rewriting?

    I'm nearly finished with the novel I've been working on and all along, I pondered whether or not a character needed to be included. Toward the end, I realized it was absolutely crucial.

    This is my second rewrite and I just don't know if I have it in me to do it again.

    Do you normally go back and add that sort of detail throughout the entire book or does it usually call for a rewrite to sound authentic?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    I've done major edits like adding or deleting characters, changing characters' entire personalities and all sorts without rewriting. You have to go right back to the beginning and carefully edit each scene and change everything that would be different because of this new character. You have to be extra mega careful about continuity and I'd recommend doing at least 2-3 total reread/edits to make sure all the details are correct.

    Whether that's preferable to rewriting depends on you and what works for your method of writing. I edit as I go and don't do draft 1, draft 2, etc. I keep on re-reading and editing what I've already written while also keeping the story moving forward. It helps me to keep on track with continuity etc. I think the fact I write like this makes it easier to handle big changes without rewriting the whole thing. Other writers may work in totally different ways. And other writers may prefer to rewrite something than try to do major edits without rewriting.

    It comes down to what works for you. You can always save a back up copy of your story as it is now (so you can go back to it if your edits don't work) and try editing it and see how it goes.
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 05-05-2017 at 12:51 AM.
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  3. #3
    Writer of MG, YA and Adult Melody's Avatar
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    You've gotten some good advice in the post above. It doesn't sound like it will need an entire rewrite unless this particular character is in every scene. It sounds like he is not, so maybe just take out those chapters where 'John Doe' appears and fit him in. If you are really fried, take a break and do it when the muse strikes you.

    Adding one more thing I just thought of: Besides adding this character in, you will also need to add details about the impact this character has on the story and on the other characters. This may happen in scenes where this person does not appear. Others may discuss this character when they are not present. They may also discuss the actions of this character that have impacted them.

    Your rewriting will depend upon how important this character is to the story and the rest of the cast and how your overall story is impacted by including them.

    I have not added a character yet in anything I've written, but I have removed a few that were redundant and I handled it the same way as described above, but in reverse. Tracking down every scene and removing their 'footprints'.
    Last edited by Melody; 05-06-2017 at 12:36 AM.
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  4. #4
    practical experience, FTW benjj's Avatar
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    I agree with Neander and Mel. Writing is really nothing more than rewriting, more rewriting, and even more rewriting. I do countless revisions and dozens of drafts. Maybe what you need is to put the ms on ice and take a hard earned break. You'll come back with fresh eyes and a hungry heart.

  5. #5
    practical experience, FTW jasperd's Avatar
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    I'm going back through it instead of re-writing and it's working out well. Thanks so much for the advice and saving me from another re-write!

  6. #6
    Shard Knight Fullon_v4.0's Avatar
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    I second benjj's advice. Give it a week minimum before doing that so you don't burn yourself out and miss critical points that require mention of/presence of said character. ^^

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  7. #7
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    You have actually obtained some great suggestions in the message over. It doesn't sound like it will need an entire reword unless this specific personality remains in every scene.

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