I'm no expert on rewrites. I've only attempted one before, and that wasn't so much a "rewrite" as "attempt to plug all the plot holes in Book One that came about as a result of writing Book Two and Three". About the biggest change I made was trying a different method of attempted murder on my narrator, and rejiggering a particularly awkward fight sequence.
However, the story I mentioned above, once November is over and I have sent my monstrosity of a NaNovel off to those who care to join me in a novel swap, is due for a full-blown, all-horns-blazing, clouds-of-fire-and-a-toaster rewrite.
Rewriting is by definition a wholly different bag of cats to simple editing. Whereas with editing, a lot of it will be geared more towards fine tuning, with some cutting and slashing here and there, a rewrite is just what it says on the lid - starting from the very beginning, with varying degrees of the old material coming into use. And not neccessarily in the right order, either.
I'm ridiculously excited.
The story I plan on rewriting was the first project I ever finished. It was terrible - I was thirteen, with very little experience, and absolutely no idea how a sword worked. That said, I grew very fond of the characters and story, and was thoroughly proud of myself when the whole thing grew into a trilogy.
Everyone looks very impressed when I tell them I wrote one of those.
So why am I excited over going in, viciously shredding and Frankenstein's-monster-ing my old darling? Because I've thought of so many ways that the rewrite will improve it. The plot will be more complex, the characters more dynamic and engaging, the setting better developed, and I can finally get rid of that useless plot point of a character I threw into Chapter Three to give someone an excuse to make a clever joke.
A first draft of a novel is like blundering your way through the underbrush of the Amazon rainforest with nothing but a set of nail clippers and a map from the sixteenth century.
A rewrite is going down that same path, but with a flamethrower. And a bag of jelly babies.
~ Charley R