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Rewrite for New Life

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Jan 12, 2015 5:24:30 AM

Around 12 years ago, I wrote a screenplay that generated a small amount of interest because it did well in a fellowship competition. I thought it was my big break at the time. I started practicing my Oscar speech and wondering what I would wear to George Clooney's Super Bowl party. It was a delightful but brief, delusional vacation from reality. As the months passed, the phone calls and emails stopped coming in, and I returned to Earth no worse for the wear.



Fast forward to this summer, I decided to open the old screenplay file and see if I could adapt it into a play or even a book. What I discovered shocked me. The screenplay didn't hold up. It just wasn't as good as I had remembered. It's something I can't explain. I was baffled because it had almost won a fellowship competition. Instead of closing the file and walking away, I took the next two weeks and rewrote it. I cut scenes, characters, dialogue, locations, etc. I kept the basic premise intact, and one character kept his name and disposition. Everything else changed. I even made one of the primary male parts a female character. After the first rewrite, about 10% of the old screenplay remained. I had so much fun rewriting it the first time, I rewrote it again. This time about 1% of the old screenplay remained. The style and format looked nothing like the original.


It was a blast. I took a piece that I would have never thought of changing a decade ago, and I totally reworked it not once but twice. And it's a better, stronger piece than it used to be.



I'm guessing there are a number of writers reading this who have old manuscripts that you haven't thought of in years. I encourage you to dig up those old projects that had promise but went nowhere and do what I did. Do something you wouldn't have dreamed of doing when the manuscripts were new and perfect. Rewrite them and give them new life.



-Richard Contributors/RidleyHeadshot_blog.jpg

Richard Ridley is an award-winning author and paid CreateSpace contributor.

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Jan 16, 2015 6:46 PM  says:

That is what I am doing now. I am re-writing a book I published in 2005. It does sound more interesting when you re-write it. I do not know why, though. When I finish this one, I will work on another one I found in my closet. Thanks for the suggestion.

Feb 9, 2015 9:54 AM antiqphoto    says:

Hi Richard,

I did the same thing with a screenplay that I wrote about the same time as yours. When I revisited it
I decided to turn it into a novel. I wrote it in six months and spent another year reviewing, re-writing and polishing before turning over to a professional editor. It made a much better novel and I now have my book on Amazon and Kindle. It has been a great experience. King of Diamonds - The Life of Barney Barnato.  You may not know the man but you know the company that he and Cecil Rhodes formed - De Beers Consolidated Mines. Oh and if it becomes a bestseller I have the screenplay ready.


Anthony Davis

Not yet an award-winning author.

Feb 9, 2015 11:33 AM jimdulaney    says:

Excellent advice.  I will review my various works for rewrites.   Thanks.