Rewrites Are Hard

Three months ago, I completed the first draft to my novel titled The Queen’s Son. I sent it out to a couple of beta readers and then set it aside for a while. I had intended to begin rewriting in July, but then I worked on a different project instead (totally worth it).

The process of writing the first draft is exciting– the rewrite, not so much. I am primarily a discovery writer: I love the thrill of creating a bare-bones character, and then discovering the depth behind that character as I present them with the plot and see what they do.

At the risk of sounding like a whiner, rewriting feels much more like a chore. Chapter One my first time around only took me a few hours to write; the rewrite has taken me at least three times as long so far and I’m not finished yet.

It’s easy to get hung up on minor details: I still have no idea what to call units of money in this world, or how much my princess should be offered for her hand in marriage (just that it’s a lot of money). I have waffled back and forth between feeling obligated to give this detail more concrete representation, and just having one of my characters chime in with something more vague like, “That’s enough to feed and clothe the entire kingdom for a year!”

In a first draft, descriptions might be sparse, but a rewrite requires the addition of more world-building details– what does everyone wear? What do they eat? What kind of lighting do they use? What is the nature of their social hierarchy? Etc.

How early can I introduce the idea of magic in this novel without giving away too much too soon?

I know some writers have the opposite problem of having too much detail and too many words. And I can’t say which is harder– having to pare down or having to fill in– because I only really have personal experience with the latter.

Rewriting is necessary, however, to be able to present a polished work, so I will continue to work at it until I am ready to share my story with the world. The end product will be worth it. I hope– when the time comes– that my readers will agree.

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