Re-reading and Analysis

thomas-edison-quote

yes, I know he was a jerk, but he said some smart things too!

OR “Is that your final version?

As part of my refocus on writing, I am starting by re-reading my first eight casebooks in order. It has been almost a year since I wrote the first one, so I want to make sure that I’m up-to-date on Portia’s trajectory as a detective.

I find that everytime I read one of my old stories I find something to ‘fix’ — now I’m not talking spelling mistakes or grammar issues, but a scene that needs a little more dialogue or a description that needs more detail.

Is that your experience as well? Do you ever regret adding and finessing?

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11 thoughts on “Re-reading and Analysis

  1. I only edit works in progress. But “works in progress” for me are anything that hasn’t been published. If it’s already been published, I don’t change a word, it’s locked in stone.

    I do usually hit a point where there’s nothing left to change without risking damaging the work. Then I will only change something if it’s a glaring technical mistake that I’ve somehow missed.

      • I usually know when my mucking around is starting to do damage. But in case I don’t, I save everything. If I start a major change, I save a new version of the document. If it’s a minor change (like a paragraph, or a page) I cut and paste that section into a separate document I call “Cast offs.” For my current WIP the Cast Offs document is over six hundred pages long (the WIP manuscript itself is 450 pages long). The Cast Offs doc is full of stuff from various drafts, a small portion of which has made it back into the final draft document. In one case I eliminated an entire ten page section that I subsequently put back into the manuscript after an entire year, and which is now just about my favourite section of the book. I cut it because I thought it was a digression (editors hate digressions), but in restrospect I realized it was actually the emotional heart of the entire piece.

  2. I do the same (save everything I mean) – though the cast-off idea is an interesting one – especially in light of your realization that your ‘digression’ was actually the emotional heart of the piece. I am now straining my brain to figure out what the emotional heart is of MY piece…

  3. I recently found a passage in my book in which I missed an opportunity to reinforce a theme by using one slightly different word. An “Oh, shucks,” moment. But the story does all right without it. Good luck with finding that “emotional heart!” (Have you asked your characters for their opinions?)

    • ooh — good point Christine – Brian Dawes (the character with the MOST heart) would probably have an idea as to the heart of these stories — I shall make a point of thinking about the question from his point of view – thanks!

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