Mystery Writing

Writing vs Rewriting

I’m a firm believer in the idea that it’s okay if the first draft of what I write is utter crap. For me that first draft is little more than me getting ideas down — getting the story from beginning to middle to end, no matter how rough it might be. The “real” writing comes in the rewriting process. That’s when I go through and change damn near everything from the first draft, and the story is better for it.

While I’m not even close to the rewriting process with my first Murder Scripts manuscript yet, I am at that phase with three other projects. One is a horror short story going through its first rewrite. The second is a children’s picture book manuscript ready for its sixth draft next week (and likely its last before I pass it on to a professional editor). And the last is a nonfiction book manuscript going through a major overhaul because I slightly changed the target market after the book was written.

As I go through the rewriting process, I can’t help but wonder what early incarnations of some of my favorite mysteries might have looked like. And I wonder if I’ll ever feel inclined to share early drafts of my own work with readers down the road. Would it fascinate me to see how a story evolved? Or would it ruin the “magic” of my favorite authors to know more about their process? I really don’t know.

As a writer, how many rewrites are normal for you (if there is such a thing as normal)? And if you’re a reader, would you personally want to know how your favorite authors got to their end product? Why or why not? Tell me in the comments.


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