Thursday, March 15, 2012

R is for Rewrites and Revisions

Often you'll hear an author say she's working on revisions to a mss. Another will say she's working on rewrites.

I'm sure there is a technical difference by definition. Rewrites would be writing something again. Revising would be making changes. But when it comes down to it, to me they seem to be one and the same.

If you're changing something in the mss, you're writing it again. And if you're writing it again, you're changing it. Right?!

I'm in the middle of rewrites and/or revisions (Take your pick.) on a mss. I'm approaching it a bit differently than I've done in the past. With everything done via e-mail with my publisher and editors, I haven't looked at a hard copy of a mss in a long time.

This time around I had a lot that needed to be rewritten and/or revised. So I printed out a copy of the mss. I punched holes in it and put it in a binder. I've forgotten how much better it is to look at something in print and find mistakes than to simply look on the computer.

It's also been nice to cross things out and add other things, but still see what was there before. I think this will help a lot with continuity later on.

All in all, so far, things are going well with my revisions and/or rewrites.

So, what do you call it when you work on a mss that's already written? Do you like to revise? Or rewrite?

Until next time,

Happy Reading!



  1. I saw this on twitter! I'm doing a post on revisions today at the rubyslippered sisterhood, how funny. good luck, revising is a lot of work!

  2. I love doing revision/rewrites. Maybe they are the same thing, but it could be that revision is the improving and polishing process, and rewriting is where you change/add/delete/move parts of the story? Whatever, it's still my favourite part of writing!

  3. I am revising a MS I first wrote when I was taking a correspondence class with Writer's Digest. I mailed a hard copy to Terri Valentine and she returned it with comments. I am revising my copy on my XP laptop, but often print crit partners comments so this process is easier.

  4. I don't really distinguish between revisions and rewrites, although, like you, I'm sure there is a difference. I always do at least one round of edits (ha, avoiding it altogether) after printing it out. Lets me use highlighters to see what goes together and how certain themes progress, post-it notes to remind myself of things, etc. Then I do the rest on the computer.

  5. On FB, Freda Lightfoot (UK writer) said "A rewrite is like starting again whereas revisions are improvements on what exists" - vive la difference!

  6. I call it revising. Though I have been doing a bit of rewriting!

  7. Thanks, Ladies, for your comments. I've been out of town away from computer access so I was able to respond.