Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Writing is rewriting, then rewriting the rewrites...

Is it just me or is anyone kinda overwhelmed going into draft two of their long play?  I was afraid to look at all the notes because I want to make so many edits and I find the task extremely daunting, lurking like the Sword of Damocles.  There's so much I want to cut or embellish, the possibilities are overwhelming me somewhat.  I'm having a hard time trying to jump back into it and pick up on a scene in the middle of the play and just play around with it.

I think what I'm going to do is separate my scenes and save them all as separate files so I can see them alone and focus on editing and rewriting one scene at a time.  I always want to conquer the entire script at once and I think that is why I have been so intimidated to do my rewrites.  If I approach it like the short plays at the beginning of the semester and just take it one bit at a time I think it will chug along fine.

Are there any successful tips or strategies for rewrites that have been particularly helpful to you guys?  


  1. Draft two? Make that draft four, sister.

    The possibilities are indeed overwhelming. That's the ugliness of writing: it's never really done, even when it is.

    If you approached your short play bit by bit, and it worked for you, you should definitely do it again. I could never work by focusing on one scene without considering what it brings to or from the others. But if you care for a suggestion, something that always works for me is to arrive at a short description of what your play is about (a logline, or a "what if" sentence, as we did a couple of classes ago) and keep that one-liner as your goal throughout your rewrite. It helps both cutting and expanding, as long as you know where you have to arrive.

  2. I'm having the same experience, it is overwhelming to attack the whole thing at once when there's so much to change. I'm liking your idea of splitting the play into bits, and also Celso's about looking at the big picture but with a short "what if" statement.

    And I think going back to edit your outline and/or flashcards will help.

  3. I go into every draft with a "to-do list" -- anywhere between two and twenty things that I want to look at or accomplish in the next draft. Then I go through, one by one, for each item on the list. Otherwise, I get totally overwhelmed.