Would You Fight For Every Word?

So I’m rounding the third and final rewrite for my YA crossover novel, Freedom Road–the book I thought would have been out many months ago. That’s right, third! I don’t mean that I’ve edited it and rewrote one or two chapters a few times. No, I have completely rewritten the entire novel three times. This final time, I even went as far as completely changing some of the characters and major plot points.

Why? Because it just wasn’t good enough. I knew something was wrong with the second rewrite when the last words were written, and instead of being excited, my stomach was a clenched fist. I didn’t feel good about it. Having soaked so much time and energy into the book, you can imagine this was not a welcome feeling. Deep down I knew what the problem with the story was, but jus t wasn’t ready to admit it. Because admitting the problem meant–of course–more major rewrites.

Fast forward to present day, and I absolutely love the novel. Love it! The voice, the story line, the characters are all how I wanted them to be from the beginning. My point is that I didn’t settle. I didn’t take that second draft and say, “Well, it’s not perfect, but good enough.”

Along the journey of my third rewrite, I remained positive. As a person who is harder on herself than the rest of the world, this was a surprise even to me. One day, I hit a road block in my writing and started doing what a lot of us writers do and let myself get distracted by the internet. I browed blogs and came across a post by, none other than, Joe Konrath. I forget the premise in the post, but as I scanned it, I read something that completely struck a chord. He said (I don’t have the exact quotes) that you should be willing to fight for every word you write. If you don’t love it, if you wouldn’t fight for it, then it shouldn’t be there. If you take that concept literally, it is a very strong sentiment. Of course, I went back to my manuscript and read the beginning, quickly deciding I would absolutely fight for every word. I loved it. It was with that in mind that I went on to finish the rest of the manuscript. It is with that sentiment in mind that I will write my other novels. So here’s the question. Would you fight for every word?

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6 thoughts on “Would You Fight For Every Word?

  1. I would fight for it unless feedback from several reviewers was that it didn’t work. Have you ever gone back and read something months later after you changed it and realized the original work was better?

    • Hmmm…I have not had the experience of rewriting something then realizing the original was better. I know some people that can never leave their work alone and constantly retweak, so I can see how that would happen. I’m not one of those people though, lol. I don’t rewrite unless I know it’s completely broken. And why give up? Nothing’s every completely hopeless. Even if the MC is the only character that remains, you can still strip your story and rework it so that it shines. That doesn’t mean you have to, of course. You can easily move onto something else, which works too.

  2. This hits home for me — thanks. I’m sitting on a YA novel that I know needs a major rewrite and I haven’t been able to find the motivation to dive back in. Instead I’ve begun new projects, but this has been at the back of my mind, gnawing at me. Your post reminded me that I’m not alone, and that if this is something I’m going to do, it’s going to take some hard work. Thanks.

    • I’m so glad my post helped to give you a bit of inspiration. Accepting that something you’ve worked SO long and hard on needs to be redone is not easy. Then actually doing the work is another thing. I totally understand you, lol. You have no idea how many times I’ve thought to myself, “It would be so much easier just to write something new.” But there was that part of me that HAD to get it right! You can do it. I suggest finding someone you can thow ideat and can do some brainstorming with. They don’t need to be an author, in fact, maybe better if they’re not. You may come up with some new things to make the story work.

  3. Pingback: Finding A Sounding Board « Delancey Stewart

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