“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”
No less a master than John Irving has said, “Revision is the soul of editing and, as a novelist, rewriting is three-quarters of my life.” Hardly anyone is such a genius that his or her work springs forth fully formed and perfect. Therefore, rewriting is essential, but it can also be daunting. It’s natural to fear that what you have written will be fatally flawed, beyond repair. Yet with enough time and skill, you can shape up even the roughest of first drafts. There are reliable techniques for doing this, as you’ll see in this chapter.
The right time to start thinking about rewriting is when you have ...