Stories starting over/going through major edits.

flucket

Green Tea Bitch
Joined
Feb 25, 2019
Messages
110
Points
43
It's been a while since I've updated my story, due to some health stuff cropping up making it difficult for me to be able to do much of anything. In the time between since I last updated and now, I've been rereading my story and thinking about some stuff I'm unhappy with, like pacing issues and a desire to backplant plot details I've only thought up now - issues kind of inevitable with serialised fiction. I don't plan to restart my story, but the thought did occur to me, and I wanted to just hear other people's thoughts on when a story is deleted and rebooted, or put on hiatus to go back through old chapters and make massive rewrites.

Is it frustrating? Or do you feel the payoff is worth it? If a story is going on pause to rewrite old chapters, do you go back and read the story from the beginning/the updated chapters once they're finished? Would you prefer authors strike a balance between continuing to update with new chapters at a slower pace while still updating old chapters, or go on pause with new updates to quickly get the rewrites over with? Should an author commit to the story they're telling, even if in hindsight they know they can tell it better, and not do reboots/rewrites at all?

I'm posting this thread in the Reader General subforum, because I specifically wanted the viewpoint and feelings from an audience/reader perspective, not an author perspective. If you're an author as well as a reader, if you post in this thread, please only do so from your feelings and position as a reader, not as an author!
 

binarysoap

Tenured Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
84
Points
33
I've never read anything that got scrapped as I was in the middle of reading, but I have had a couple of novels that seemed mildly interesting, but I didn't read it due to various reasons. So when the author did a reboot/rewrite, I took the opportunity to begin reading the new version (and never touching the old version even though it exists somewhere) and enjoyed them. Most of the time, if the author does a reboot/rewrite, it is significantly different and better anyways. So at least for potential new readers, a reboot/rewrite might actually be quite attractive.
 

Mizu

New member
Joined
Jul 3, 2019
Messages
25
Points
3
I don't know what to say. I did a revision to my story but since I wasn't uploading at the time I could easily start from scratch and not worry about maintaining a reader base. I think that going back and reworking on things is always good. My first version had major pacing issues. The point I am at currently (Chapter 40ish) was where chapter 14 was in my previous version. It is up for you to decide. Is the story good enough for you to finish and then revise and improve? Or is it just simply better to revise and redo it?
I am sure that you can finish it first and do minor edits and it will be good but if you start over and do it again it will be great.
 

Phantomheart

Cliff Hanger Player
Joined
Feb 13, 2019
Messages
189
Points
43
I’ve read lots of online novels that had to get scrapped or revised, usually they start the new revision as a new book as rewriting the chapters one by one seemed a hassle and other readers liked reading the old version as well. I read revised novels now and again, but I sometimes end up dropping them, as some plot points from the older version create plot holes in the authors new vision. In my opinion, as a reader, you should just restart the story as a whole, that way it can attract some new readers, but retain the old and keep a cohesive story. Post the new version as a new story and keep the old one online as well.

This is just my own opinion however, but I find it bothersome to reread an entire story from the beginning because an author revised some central plot points. Unless the story is very appealing and it just started out, so the plot changes wouldn’t matter, in the long run, I don’t read revised stories that just replace certain chapters with new text and information.
 

feirut

New member
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
12
Points
3
I've been in that situation for quite a while. However, when I realized that I wanted to do things over since new ideas and a more rigid style is coming up, I was on the point of no return. I was at around 200k+ words written in due to the tremendous drive I had. I wanted to rewrite my old chapters, sometimes change it entirely but it will affect the plot moving forward.

I asked my readers' opinion then. From the responses I received, most of them wanted me to continue with what was originally planned. They also warned me that a lot of authors falls into that 'rewrite old chapters' limbo and eventually lose focus on building up the story from the last chapter released until the author gives up and drops it.

Personally, I have lingering regrets with what I wrote. I could have wrote them better. But what my readers said was right, too. I might fall into that never ending rewrite loop. After all, you will always think of new ideas when you write. In the end, I just focused on writing new chapters. I still have the rewrite in mind and I have announced to my readers that I will eventually rewrite everything. That is after I actually finish the serial. I even made chapter 1 of the rewrite so that I can show my readers how I wanted it in the rewrite and as reminder for me to rewrite it.

Edit: Some of my readers are pretty helpful enough to give their opinions on the current version. They responded with what they thought that can be improved upon. These suggestions made me think that it might actually be good to keep writing and polish the story in one sweep.

Edit 2: You can try what I did. You can ask your readers for their opinion by posting a poll or a survey form to collate answers (I linked mine to a google form. Some reponded through comments and some messages). Getting their responses might be better for an answer from a general point of view. After all, they have read what you wrote and might have a more concrete suggestion than a general one.
 
Last edited:

binarysoap

Tenured Member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
84
Points
33
I'm posting this thread in the Reader General subforum, because I specifically wanted the viewpoint and feelings from an audience/reader perspective, not an author perspective. If you're an author as well as a reader, if you post in this thread, please only do so from your feelings and position as a reader, not as an author!
Looks like some of these authors are a lot better at writing than reading.
 

Owl

Member
Joined
Apr 10, 2019
Messages
35
Points
18
From a reader's perspective, unless the story is getting a major change in quality or storyline, I'd be rather annoyed. If I'm reading a story up to recent chapters then I'm fine with it, so hearing that I will have to reread everything instead of getting new chapters would be something that I wouldn't like. Getting new chapters and edited old ones would just be more confusing for me.
If it's minor edits, I wouldn't reread and just continue the story, maybe just reread a chapter if I know that a whole scene has been added.
If it's added hints and stuff... Eh, I'd probably not reread until I get too annoyed by missing too much info
If the whole story would be going differently, then tbh I'd prefer the author just stopping the story and restarting it completely, because that would annoy me less than some weird in-between of edit and complete change as it catches up to the latest point. Still, while I understand it as an author, as a reader it makes me sad to see all the story I've liked so far gone and exchanged with something new while leaving the old story without an ending.

Short comment mixed as author and reader: You're probably going to always feel like you could have done better. If readers like your story so far, why not just finish it and learn for the next one?
 

Kotohood

Noob Author
Joined
May 17, 2019
Messages
184
Points
63
As a reader, I can say that it is ok if it's a small change in writting, like changing up the sentence to flow better or like adding illustration to a scene, but a big no no to change in story and/or character development scenes. Readers like me tend to re-read entire stories at some point(Brisk reading) to catch up after a long hiatus so it helps if you re-edit with better writting but thing is I don't like it when authors just retcon things willy nilly.

As long as you don't change the core fundamental of the story then it's not really a big problem for me.

As an author, major pain in the ass. I rather put my focus on the story and complete it with better writting skills as I move along rather than reedit old chapters. Maybe for typos and grammar but definitely no to story and
plot. Too much time.

Edit:I also dislike it when the schedule is interrupted when authors re-write stories. The people who followed you up to that point is invested and is looking forward to the next addition so it gets super irritating when authors decides to rework their old chapters instead of writing forward.
 
Last edited:

DoctorZero

New member
Joined
Feb 24, 2019
Messages
1
Points
1
Rewrites aren't for your readers, the're for the readers you wished you had.

Keep writing for the readers you have. Change everything for the readers you wish you had - title, cover, description, genre, pacing, characters, style, perspective, plot, everything, anything, do you know what everything means?

Rewrites aren't about the story. They're about fishing for a new audience. If you're happy with the audience you have, don't rewrite. If you're hoping for a bigger audience, then try your luck with a rewrite. Or, a different website.
 
Top