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#amwriting : Have you ever completely re-written a #book?

Find the Light Within: Copyright Amlokiblogs

The last two weeks have been a journey of introspection as far as my WIP is concerned. I binned 95,000 words of first draft this year, which gave me a good sense of my character and themes. Now, I’ve taken out major chunks of the plot, to give my story room to breathe. I had about 40, 000 words of second draft, of which I’ll possibly end up binning about 30,000.

If someone had asked me two years back how I would feel about such major cuts and changes, I would have said, “upset and lost.”

Today, I feel a little lost, but mostly “relieved and charged up.” I’m raring to go make the changes, and hope to get a lot done in the next two weeks.

How about you? Have you ever set aside all your previous work on a book, and begun again on clean slate?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • sweetyshinde says:

    Thanks for a detour across my blog. Writing and Re-writing, yes, I do it almost completely in my head before it comes on paper or laptop. Are you an author?

  • notyetpenned says:

    The closest I came was rewriting a novel from a complete different point of view (I changed it from first person to third) and that was crazy enough! I usually use at least some of what I've already written, albeit by the time I am finished with the project, it might have little resemblance to my first draft:)

  • John L. Monk says:

    Hey, thanks for popping by my little site. I had to come over and check things out 🙂 I'm in a situation right now where I've written 80k words and it might need a massive rewrite…. We'll see. I hope I don't have to "bin" it 🙂 I love that: bin. In Virginia if someone says "I binned that" they'd correct you and say, "No, you HAD BEEN that…"


  • Two years ago I wrote a book for NaNo that I ended up scrapping. Not the idea- I loved the idea. I'm now re-writing it from another character's perspective, which ends up changing ALOT. And I hate wasted time, so I'm looking at that first novel as extended research. All mental, I know, but it's what helps me sleep at night.

  • melch says:

    Your courage and tenacity never fails to amaze me. I'm also rewriting a bunch of stuff now.

  • dayya says:

    I've done that! Dumped thousands of words and started over–looking at you "A Lamentation of Swans." But as they say, writing is rewriting and I like to rewrite. Thumbs up to you! d:)

  • Maalaimalar says:

    Thanks for the information… I really love your blog posts… specially those on Local Tamil News

  • Trisha F says:

    Yes, I've rewritten from scratch, and it was an invigorating, exciting experience. I am still not done with that particular story, though.

  • Yes! I've re-written novels from scratch in the past, and now that comics are my focus, I plan to convert some of those same novels into comics. Good luck with all the work you still need to do for your current WIP!

  • Arlee Bird says:

    I haven't even finished a book yet. Not gonna think about rewriting one. I wish I had a tenth of your writing ambition.

    Tossing It Out

    • Damyanti says:

      I don't know if I have loads of writing ambition, Lee. I think I'd call it addiction, an inability to let go.

  • LOL! I'm doing it now with the second book in one of my series. It can hurt, laying aside all that hard work, but no writing is ever wasted. We're always learning and growing through our efforts.

  • I've never thrown out an entire story to work from scratch. When I edit, I do at least one edit where I rewrite each sentence, tweaking bits and pieces.

    • Damyanti says:

      I'm throwing out most of the plot, but keeping a major portion of my story. The mechanics change, some of the plot points disappear etc, but most characters remain as does the essence of the story. Tweaking each sentence will come at a much later draft, I think, when I'm convinced the chapters are in place.

  • shelly says:

    I'm shopping out scenes in Killer Stilettos and replacing them with new ones to make the story flow better.

    Good luck.

    Hugs and chocolate!

    • Damyanti says:

      All the best with Killer Stillettoes– and thanks for stopping by my blog again :).

    • I did it last year and it was gut wrenching, but it needed doing. I'm doing it again this year with another book and it's not so bad this time around. I think because I know what the story needs and how to get it done.

    • Damyanti says:

      Anne– my gut is being wrenched as we speak, but I'm feeling much better for it– it is like an acupuncture session that hurts like hell, but things go easier afterwards.

  • I've got three books I'll be binning and rewriting from scratch – all books where there's nothing wrong with the plot, but my writing wasn't even close to where it needed to be.

    • Damyanti says:

      That sort of rewrite still looks easier to me– I suck at structure– probably because I've only written short stories before this.

  • Marian Allen says:

    OH, yeah! My fantasy trilogy, SAGE, has been through several major rewrites. I finally took all the versions apart, noted what to keep, and started over. Sometimes, it just has to be done! HUGS

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, I often wonder how fantasy writers get their series to work together so beautifully– now I know. 🙂

  • First of all, many thanks for taking the time to like my two recent book reviews, Take Him Away, and Beneath the Rainbow. It's only recently I've started to make a real effort with my writing, so every comment and 'like' is really appreciated and an added spur to my efforts.

    Regarding your above post relating to re-writing a book, it certainly strikes a cord; about ten years ago I started writing a murder thriller (the opening prologue being listed on my blog – Blue Murder). I've recently taken another look at it, and whilst I think it still merits a further effort, I realise it needs a ruthless edit. Of the 85,000 words or so I had completed I believe a good third of that can be purged to leave what's left as a much tighter and fluent work. Like yourself there was a time I would been horrified at such editing but no longer, now I see it as more in line of fine polishing.
    You have a fine blog here, and an impressive collection of work. I'm looking forward to reading your AtoZ book of stories too. I trust you won't mind me added it to my book reviews when I've finished? Thanks…

    • Damyanti says:

      Hi, I liked your writing, and it was my pleasure to visit your blog. Yes, ruthlessness to the words is sometimes a writer's best asset. Like my tutor at the workshop last week, Jake Arnott, said: Be like Napoleon– love your troops (words) but send them to the frontline to be mowed down. New ones would come and take their place. Thanks for buying my Ato Z book, and sure, I would love to read what you thought of it in your review.