Jaded_Star

What to do when you're writing style changes?

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I was thinking about posting a story I started writing a very long time ago. So I opened said story, read the first paragraph and realized it doesn't sound like something I'd written. My writing style has changed so much over however many years. True to form, I never actually finished this story on paper, only in my head. So what do I do? It's not so drastic that a reader would notice in a big way, but the transition will likely be noticeable.Do I rewrite the whole thing? Do some touching up? Leave it alone and finish it?

Anyone else have this problem?

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I was thinking about posting a story I started writing a very long time ago. So I opened said story, read the first paragraph and realized it doesn't sound like something I'd written. My writing style has changed so much over however many years. True to form, I never actually finished this story on paper, only in my head. So what do I do? It's not so drastic that a reader would notice in a big way, but the transition will likely be noticeable.Do I rewrite the whole thing? Do some touching up? Leave it alone and finish it?

Anyone else have this problem?

Oh, this sounds so familiar...

I'm actually doing a rewrite on something I started about 2 years ago, and then had it fall to the wayside while I worked on another project. Oh, gods...what a mess! :lol: I opted to do the full rewrite, to clean up the awful bits and so that the chapters I'll eventually add on will at least match style-wise.

It sounds like you might only need some touching up, if the transition wouldn't be noticeable in a big way. Maybe start there and see how it feels?

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Guest Robin_Mask

I was thinking about posting a story I started writing a very long time ago. So I opened said story, read the first paragraph and realized it doesn't sound like something I'd written. My writing style has changed so much over however many years. True to form, I never actually finished this story on paper, only in my head. So what do I do? It's not so drastic that a reader would notice in a big way, but the transition will likely be noticeable.Do I rewrite the whole thing? Do some touching up? Leave it alone and finish it?

Anyone else have this problem?

I rather agree with BronxWrench. If your style change isn't too drastic then you could perhaps just touch up what you've already done and carry on in your new style, because in this case the reader probably wouldn't notice or be too jarred by the change as the change is subtle.

I actually have a story I wrote a year or two back that I've recently rewritten. I loved my old story so much but I actually decided to rewrite it because my style has changed, I wanted it to be the very best it could be and expanded on the plot, character development and used my new style. Personally I'm not happy with my work unless it's perfect, so even when I used scenes from the old story I still rewrote them because I wanted them to reflect my new style, method and standards. I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so in my case I completely rewrote everything so it would be a real novel and something I could be proud of :) Then again the very second I finish a work I seem to dislike it, I guess I'll never be happy with anything I write, lol.

Every author is different though, so you have to do what you're comfortable with and what works best for you. There's pros and cons to every option, sometimes a complete rewrite is best, but if your style isn't too different then maybe just touching it up or carrying on will be best for you. Good luck in any case!

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I actually have a story I wrote a year or two back that I've recently rewritten. I loved my old story so much but I actually decided to rewrite it because my style has changed, I wanted it to be the very best it could be and expanded on the plot, character development and used my new style. Personally I'm not happy with my work unless it's perfect, so even when I used scenes from the old story I still rewrote them because I wanted them to reflect my new style, method and standards. I guess I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so in my case I completely rewrote everything so it would be a real novel and something I could be proud of :) Then again the very second I finish a work I seem to dislike it, I guess I'll never be happy with anything I write, lol.

I'm doing the same thing! I decided to rewrite the first story ever wrote when I was a very young teen, and its taking forever! Which is why, this newer, much shorter story seems like it might be alright as it is. It's a weird story that's always been a back up in case I feel like writing something different, so it's slowly grown over...7 or 8 years? lol long time for 24 pages!

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Generally my stories are fired and forget. It's not that I won't look back later and think "damn the writing here blows." but usually I'd like to preserve my writing the way they were when I first posted them. To me they're landmarks of my progress as a writer. The only thing I'd consider going back to change is grammatical errors.

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I've had some stories I wrote over ten years ago in bound books with a pencil. After reviewing some of them I realized they had enough merit to be converted into actual stories. However I have yet to do so.

As for my writing style, yes it was a lot more crude back then. However, it seems my writing style changes with my clairvoyance. I felt that something I wrote two years ago was so much better than what I'm writing right now. Which seems odd because I'm not suffering from writers block or anything like that but my story just seems to be of a lesser quality. I'm hoping there is nothing wrong with my brain but maybe I have to get myself checked out.

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Hell, sometimes i reread stuff the next morning and it doesn't sound like me. I think that when i really get in the zone, there's a different part of my brain that comes into play.

Or i exercise the mind differently, not sure what. But I wouldn't rewrite it just to match my current style. Maybe to correct some basic errors?

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I've been going through this problem a lot lately. I started writing and posting fiction in early high school. I have a few stories on this site and other sites from that period and every time I stumble upon them, I blush with embarrassment. They're poorly written, cliched, and some of them are far too short or just don't make any sense. So, when I receive a positive review on these stories, that someone likes the plot, it really motivates me to tear the story down and try to do it better. My writing style has gone through three 'eras', high school, early college, and present. I feel that I can always write better, but I put a lot more attention to detail into my stories now than I ever did in the past, so when I reread something that I've written currently, I don't feel ashamed of it. The thing is, there isn't a single story that I've written that I've felt couldn't be remade and should just be thrown in the trash. The problem is finding the time, and inspiration, to take a bad story and make it good.

Remakes, I feel, are a double edged sword. On the one hand, nine times out of ten, the remake really is better than the original product. It is kind of like having a first draft of an essay. You already have an idea in your head and now have the source material to look over. You can take your time and really plot the story out, without rushing into the story, just to get all your ideas out there. Readers who are fans of the original story will probably like the remake, too, and if its a story that hasn't been worked on in awhile, will be happy to see some new life poured into it. On the other hand, some readers will hate you for it. You're abandoning something they liked, which requires going back and writing the same scenes over again. It's like a remake of a beloved movie. There are some scenes you already know, which runs the risk of boring your audience until you get to parts that are new. And I'm sure that there will always be readers who liked your original version more.

But, as the author, if you feel that you can make your story better, you should. It just takes a lot of patience, but I feel that this is a part of what separates authors that love their work and craft, who really pour their souls into what they write, and those that are just doing it in their spare time, those that don't care about bad grammar or plot holes.

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Personally I would re-write it, but that's just me. If you don,t think its a big deal then you could just leave it. Why dont you try finishing the story first, then reading through and deciding from there if you want to re-write it?

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I usually just scrap it and start over, reworking the entire concept into another story. I may salvage some parts I liked to keep into consideration for the new "version" of the tale, but that's about it.

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As a personal preference, I don't change my posted writings. To me, they're like that evolution chart that's everywhere, where the ape becomes a man, they show how I've progressed as a writer through the years. I wholly admit the first two or three fics I posted here make me cringe when I read through them but they're still part of my development.

Going back and re-starting a story that's been left to fallow for a couple years can be hard, but if you still remember where you were going I think you could make it work. It really comes down to you and what you think of the story and if you think you could finish it despite the stylistic differences.

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If the story was never finished or never quite gelled, restarting from scratch and keeping the best bits is fine.

But I do think editing after it's been posted is fine as long as it doesn't get obsessive reworking, never being satisfied. Get the book out the door someday so you can explore new stuff. Also, I've seen a few tales where a more mature writer redid the story and it was weaker and less edgy/powerful. I've seen this in both sci-fi and romance novels, though I'm sure there are more examples. Writing as a more mature writerm the voice is more assured and sometimes loses that uncertainty a newer writer shows.

On the other hand, an occasional corrective edit I don't see a problem with. Fixing grammar, spelling, or stupid "Duh" moments can only improve the story. I want the story to grab my reader, and if my embarrasing grammar errors prevent that, fixing them is only good. I don't restructure, just the kind of fixing a good copy editor would have pointed out the first time. But finding help is hard, and they miss may miss things too. If i see them on a corrective edit a year or 2 later, how is that different than a series of editors checking before a book is published?

But I do think you shouldn't make major changes, or very few. I tend to think of mine like books that went to the publisher. you may be able to make a couple passes of changes in galleys, but once in the readers' hands they shuold be really changed in any fundamental way. Retconning, like they do in comics, is really starting to annoy me as it's a cheap way to redo old stories instead of writing new stuff.

So major changes should be approached with caution if at all, and smaller changes are slow-motion copy editing. If I ever get published in paper, the printed copy is pretty final, right? After a certain point the book has to go out the door.

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