No announcement yet.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Rewrites

    I can't get a handle on this no matter how long I've been writing, so let me just put it out there. What is everyone's definition of a rewrite? is it a massive overhaul that involves adding/removing characters, deleting entire subplots, and changing your story from a rom-com to a slasher film? Or is it a minor touch-up -- changing some dialogue here, extending a scene there...

    I always hear writers, including myself, talk about doing all this rewriting, and I just wonder what exactly that means to one and all.

  • #2
    Each time I rewrite, I write from scratch.

    Extending scenes or changing dialogues is just editing.


    • #3
      Depends on what you need to rewrite. Could be any of what you have said above. You alter the screenplay.

      There could be numerous reasons for doing that.


      • #4
        The line between an edit and a rewrite is a blurry one.


        • #5

          If I make a fundamental change to my script, I call it rewriting. If all I'm doing is going through and tightening here and there, making minor changes that do not affect the structure and/or plot, it's editing.

          I hate them both.


          • #6
            Re: rewriting

            If I add a whole new character and or arc, blow away or add a number of scenes or a sub plot, I'd call it re-write. Other than that I call it tinkering or re-tooling a script.


            • #7
              Anything that changes plot structure... characters, etc. I just got so discouraged with the one I was doing I just took a break to write the next SP. I %$#^@ hate rewrites, but they're the most common form of writing in this biz.

              Premise - A screenwriter goes insane from getting too many re-write demands from a producer and hunts the producer down... and... and... yah know, the next one would just make you re-write it.

              Geesh, we just can't win.


              • #8
                There's rewriting, polishing, and editing.


                When you make changes to the plot, structure, or character. Shuffling scenes. Adding and deleting scenes. Throwing out dialogue and description. Adding dialogue and description.

                When you feel the rewritng is done, you do a polish of your screenplay.


                Tighten dialogue and description. Change dull words to more expressive words. Like: "Mad, he walks out." Better: "Mad, he stomps out." Other examples of what to polish:

                Make sure you written in present tense, as if you're describing action as it happens. Don't use the progressive verb form: Joe is running down the field. Always use the active voice: Joe runs down the field.

                Also, you'll look for unnecessary adverbs: Joe moves swiftly down the street. Better: Joe sprints down the street.

                You want your story to be tight for a fast and smooth read. You want to use colorful and expressive verbs. When the polish is done, you edit.


                Check the spelling, gramma, and punctuation.

                When you feel you have your final draft, send it out for feedback.


                • #9
                  I agree with Joe.

                  I'd only add that a rewrite also includes any time you add or remove a story element which could include reoccuring images and symbology, characters, plots, or whatnot. Essentially, any time you do something to the screenplay which changes story or how story will be perceived.

                  Polish is just tweaking with the words to make it read better.

                  Edit is catching spelling, grammar, or format errors.


                  • #10
                    This is a great thread idea, MuckMan!!

                    I really don't have much to add to the above, except to make sure you do as many rewrites, not polishes, as you can to make it as good at you can.

                    Like, one time I deleted a whole character out of a screenplay=rewrite

                    If I add some dialog here and there, and maybe delete a scene that is pointless=tinker

                    If I change dialog thoughout, or here and there=tinker

                    Go over it to make sure all the sentences are the best they could be=polish

                    But, since I struggle with rewriting all the f'n time, I also welcome any and all advice and opines on the subject, for it's the thorn in my paw, so to speak.



                    • #11
                      The labels of re-writing or editing really don't matter. I simply think of getting to the end of the script as the first draft. Everything afterwards is simply making it better. However much that requires to take it to the best you can make it is what you do. I don't give what I do labels. I just try to improve my script as much as I can to the level I've learned my craft.


                      • #12
                        Good point!