6 Powerful Rewriting Steps

Strategies to Rewrite Your Story

Photo by jules a. on Unsplash

It takes multiple passes to transform a manuscript from a messy first draft into a polished, publishable story.

To give you a clear idea of what “multiple passes” look like as you begin rewriting, I’ll share the six steps I use during the rewriting stage.

Step #1 The Big Picture

The first time I go through my story, I’m only worried about the flow of the story and whether it’s lacking the essentials. I ask myself these two questions.

· Does it make sense? Here I’m checking to make sure the story makes sense as I move from chapter to chapter and scene to scene. I check that I didn’t leave anything out, or that I don’t need to add new sentences or even scenes. I want to make sure I don’t lose my readers and that the story progresses logically and has the proper pacing and tension.

· Is the structure solid? I check the length of my chapters and might modify them if they are too long or too short. I make sure that I’m transitioning well, that there are strong hooks at the beginning and end of chapters. I might move entire scenes around or cut them out entirely. I verify that I’ve hit my plot points and that they are working as I intended them to work.

Step #2 — Add Details and Descriptions

My weakness has always been my lack of descriptive writing. I’m great with dialogue, in fact, my stories moves forward mostly on dialogue. So on my second pass, I focus on adding descriptions to give readers a richer reading experience.

Specific details and descriptions bring a story to life. I focus on adding locations and dates if I missed that on the original draft. I add as many details as I think need to be in the story to bring it to life. For more ideas on what kind of details to add to your story, read this blog that I wrote last week about this topic.

Step #3 & #4 Language Must Be Specific and Essential

These are almost two separate issues, and you can focus on one at a time if you choose, but I address these at the same time.