Thursday, September 2, 2010

Question from a Writer - Recrafting Stories

I'm really curious--how do you suggest the writer re-craft the story to make it fit some other lines? Do you add subplots, word count, more or different conflict--all of which would change the voice. Can you give an example? What would you say?

Do you think ALL stories lend themselves to re-crafting to fit other lines?

Great question...

There is really a lot that goes into re-crafting a story. Essentially, it is like "gutting a house and remodeling." The idea is to keep the central foundation of the story and reconstruct, adding or deleting where necessary.

For many authors, they seem to think it is simply a matter of just adding or taking out words. While this works for some stories, it really involves looking at the story in a big picture. A writer might add more layers or secondary characters. A writer might also add more depth to the characters. For some changes, especially going from one publisher to the next, this recrafting might involve the way the sentences and paragraphs are structured.

You might notice that the publisher you want to target really does a lot with introspection. It is through this mode that you get to really understand the characters. If your story is lacking that, you would then go back to where the characters told each other how they felt, an change this to personal thoughts... or visa versa.

I will say this is not an easy project, but it does work. I worked with one author that was able to take a story destined for Avon and converted it to an Avalon story. Big changes but in the end, the story was better suited for the latter.

Again, you will notice that to accomplish this recrafting really takes a strong dissection of the publishers and really understanding what they are looking for.

Hope that helps.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks Scott. Very good post. I'm recrafting my rejected Love Inspired novel now. After studying the various lines of Harlequin, I've pegged SuperRomance as the one I need to target so I'm doing as you've suggested. It's difficult and very slow moving for me since I'm having to take out all the Christian stuff. The rejections from other Christian houses said "too much angst" or "too issue driven" but they didn't read anything more than a synopsis. This breaks my heart to recraft from Christian to general market place but ... a girls' gotta do what a girls' gotta do if she truly believes in her book. I sure appreciate all your discussion here on your blog. You've given me lots to think about with your various postings. This is the one blog I return to day after day after day.