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Revamp. Rewrite. Recycle.

Question from a reader: Have you ever gotten into writing a book only to stop, pivot, and go a completely different direction?

Answer: Yes. It’s happened in many different ways, and at many different stages of the process.

  1. The one time I started a book, gave it to my editor and she said, “Yeah, this doesn’t work. At all.”
    I tried to write a contemporary book based off of The Phantom of the Opera. It was bad. That’s the only book I’ve started and then completely trashed.
  2. That time I wrote If I Could Stay and then had to rewrite the second half of the book because the police procedures I had imagined up weren’t accurate.
    Yeah. I talked with a former FBI agent and told him how the plot had worked out and he said, “That’s not how it works. Let me tell you how it does work.”
  3. That time I wrote a book in dual POV and had to rewrite it into single POV.
    Guess what?? This just happened to me. My novella that will be released in October was written in dual point of view, but when my editor got a hold of it, she was like, “Bad news. This doesn’t work.” Rewriting half a book is…tricky, to say the least. But she was right. It’s SO much better now.
  4. The time I tried to start Kinley’s story and ended up scrapping at least three beginnings before settling on the one that stuck.
    Good news though! Two of those beginnings ended up making their way into later books! The beginning of Cloaked in Scarlet was originally written with Kinley in mind. And the scene in The Swindler’s Daughter where Miriam finds Rowan sick and helps him to bed and he says the things…yeah, that was originally written for Kinley’s story as well.
  5. That time I finally finished my first book after more than seven years of writing, and when I looked back at the finished draft, I realized that nothing I had written in the first five years had remained in the manuscript.
    Just Ella took me a long time. Just Ella taught me so much, including how to say goodbye to my darlings and consider that maybe I could write that scene better if I started from scratch.

The moral of the story: if you have a niggling feeling that maybe that scene isn’t as good as it could be, do it over. Don’t try to tweak the original. Start over. Rewrite the whole scene without referencing the first. See what happens.

If you think the scene IS good, but it doesn’t work with the story. Put it in a drawer. You might have a place for it later.

Trust your instincts.

BookBub Recommendations

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