March 11, 2011 by Renee
Recently I’ve been studying the craft of rewriting. Of course, I’ve been studying that for a few years now, but lately it’s been with purpose and focus. Because of the articles I write, I have to make sure that the process is clear and accurate in my head before relaying that information to others.
Sometimes my brain screams for something more interesting to do, but I have to say, it’s kind of fun most of the time. I learn something new and immediately I’m ripping out a manuscript and applying it. It’s like a kid with a new toy. I just have to try it out.
So, I thought perhaps you might enjoy a little game here at the Edge. It will be played in three parts. First, we’ll write a story (in the comments section of course). Each comment will provide one line of the story. You can comment and add as many times as you like, but try to keep it to a sentence each time. Maximum 2 sentences per post. Got it?
I’ll give you the first line and I’ll add an ending when we’re done. Let’s give it a few days. So Wednesday, March 16th, we’ll stop adding to the story. Then I’ll gather it into a document and post the story as a whole.
From the second post, we’re going to rewrite the story. I challenge all of you to condense the story into less than 750 words, which means removing fluff and anything that doesn’t move the story forward. Rewrite dialogue to remove unnecessary tags and silly things like eyes burning and such. I challenge you to remove the telling as well and add setting if necessary. The biggest challenge will be to smooth the bumps out as having several people writing one line at a time will leave quite a bit of that. Cool?
Post your revision into the comments with your name.
I’ll post my revision as well and then I’ll ask for votes on the best rewrite.
BUT there is a catch to the voting. If you vote, I want you to also explain why the revised version you chose is better. What was done right? I’ll tally the votes, any that don’t explain are void, and post the winning revision the following week.
Ah hell, the winning rewrite gets a free book of their choice. How’s that? My purpose here is to show that editing and rewriting can change your prose dramatically. I bet we have more than one take on the story when we’re through.
Are you all game?
Okay, here’s your opening line:
“Let’s play,” she flung her coat over the chair.