One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book


One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book


One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book

Good Monday morning, Seekerville, and Happy Valentine's Day! I (Carrie) am here to introduce today's guest for this month's 'One Thing That Works For Me' series. Please join me in welcoming author, podcaster, and all-around super-cool person Kristi Ann Hunter to share about an editing trick that works for her. By the way, if you haven't yet checked out her books, I can't think of a better day than one dedicated to romance! 

Edit. Technically speaking, it’s a four-letter word, but for some writers it’s an agonizing chamber of never-ending torture as you comb through the sentences looking for the right place to add a word here or change a phrase there or enhance this sensory detail or remove that unnecessary description.

Allow me to make it worse. At least it’s going to sound that way at first. For some of you, though, it will be the best editing advice you’ve ever heard. How do I know? Because it’s the best editing advice I’ve ever heard and the person I learned it from claimed the same thing.

We’re talking about a very particular stage of edits today. Some people call them substantive edits, others call them high-level, and still others refer to them as rewrites. For this article we’re going to use the term rewrites. One, because it’s shorter, and two, because, well, you’ll see in a minute.

One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book
Rewrites come after you’ve written and worked through the first draft. The story is completely written and you’ve passed it through a critique group or a couple of beta readers, maybe an editor. You’ve read through it yourself and now you have a stack full of notes and now it’s time to take your book to the next level.

What works for me at this stage of editing is to rewrite the book.


I open the existing manuscript on one side of the screen and a blank document on the other. Then I start typing.

I retype every single word of that book. Does it take a while? Yes. Do I occasionally copy and paste a couple of sentences or even a paragraph? Yes. Do I think it’s worth it? Thirteen books later, I’m gonna have to say yes.

What is the benefit of rewriting you may ask? Well, when you are already retyping every word of the book, you lose any hesitation to change something. It can be easy to let something okay stay in the book instead of replacing it with something great, just because it’s already there and it works. When you are going to retype it anyway, there’s no reason not to tweak a sentence’s phrasing or switch out one word for a slightly better one.

I find when I rewrite, I make small changes, add tiny details, and find a better rhythm for the story in general because all I’m having to think about is the phrasing on the page. The plot, characters, twists, and turns have already been set. I can bring all my creative energy into the words themselves.

Interested in trying the rewrite everything method for yourself? Here’s a few things to keep in mind: 

  • Large or double screens make this easier. I have a double wide screen on my desk but you can also hook a monitor to a laptop and get the same effect.
  • You will add words. Lots of them. Make sure you leave room in your word count to add the little details and enhancements. I typically add 20,000 words to a full size novel during this pass, so I try to size my first draft accordingly.
  • While you will type this faster than you wrote the first time since most of the creative direction decisions have already been made, it will take time. Build that into your schedule.
  • This is a lot of typing. A lot. I used to have to break out the wrist braces until I got an ergonomic keyboard. Take care of yourself.

If you try this and find it to be the best editing advice you’ve ever heard, I’d love to hear about it. Unfortunately I can’t pass it along to the original advice giver because it was a screen cap of a tumblr post that I came across on Pinterest.

Inspiration is everywhere, people. Don’t be afraid to use it.


One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book
A lover of stories from before she could read, Kristi Ann Hunter is the award winning author of sweet regencies written from a Christian worldview including A Noble Masquerade and her upcoming novel, Enchanting the Heiress. She functions on a steady diet of chocolate, Chick-fil-a diet lemonade, and swoony visits with her book boyfriends. When she isn't writing or hosting her podcast, A Rough Draft Life, she spends time with her family in Georgia playing board games, being a dance mom, and living her own happily ever after.

Connect with Kristi at her website, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.


What questions do you have for Kristi Ann Hunter about her rewriting everything method?


19 Comments on Seekerville: The Journey Continues: One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book

  • kaybee
    on February 14, 2022 | 08:06 kaybeesaid :
    "Kristi Ann, I love this and think I might try it on my WIP. It's kind of meh right now, so I'm looking for ways to revisit it and bring more to it. This sounds like a lot of work but a lot of fun. And rewarding.
    BTW and FYI, I submitted my nonfiction local history book over the weekend and am ready to get back to said fiction WIP. THank you all for your encouragement. Did you know there's a function on Word that makes automatic footnotes? Yes, of course you did. Sigh.
    Kathy Bailey
    Your Kaybee
    Learning as I go in New Hampshire"
  • Sandy Smith
    on February 14, 2022 | 08:58 Sandy Smithsaid :
    "Welcome, Kristi Ann. Interesting post. I might have to try it."
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 10:15 MeezCarriesaid :
    "haha Kaybee, I love your comments :) Congrats on submitting the nonfiction one & yay for a new fiction!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 10:16 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Hi Sandy! Thanks for commenting :)"
  • Shanniece
    on February 14, 2022 | 11:58 Shanniecesaid :
    "Thanks for the ideas. can't wait to try it :) Happy Valentines to you

    Online deals at iPhone Repair Bellevue"
  • Pat W
    on February 14, 2022 | 13:01 Pat Wsaid :
    "Happy Valentines to all! The rewrite advice really appealed to me. I think because as you mentioned most of the other components have already been done. My brain can only do so many things at one time ha. I do believe I will try this when I get to that point. Thank you for the tips. "
  • Jenna Night
    on February 14, 2022 | 13:44 Jenna Nightsaid :
    "Hi Kristi-
    When you say 'write the whole thing all over again' so bluntly it does make one gasp! :-) But you're right. I do something similar to what you do, though I'm a slow, fairly deliberate writer so a lot of things end up staying the same. In the end, it is less stressful to do it this way rather than having to make substantial changes under a deadline. And, as you point out, once all the decisions are made it is less anxiety inducting to go through it again. Also if you're a word nerd--which I am-- it can actually be kind of fun. Thanks for reminding me not to take the methods that word for granted :-) Now I'm off to take a look at your lovely books!"
  • Jan Drexler
    on February 14, 2022 | 16:19 Jan Drexlersaid :
    "I had never thought of doing this, but it makes so much sense! I read and re-read my manuscript multiple times, making changes as I go, but I can see how rewriting the story would give me the space to make changes that I might not notice in a read-through.

    Thanks for the tip!"
  • Tonya
    on February 14, 2022 | 16:24 Tonyasaid :
    Is a substantive edit different than a developmental edit?

    I’ve always wondered the process
    of a rewrite? Thank you for explaining yours. It sounds like it could be beneficial to try."
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 18:12 MeezCarriesaid :
    ""My brain can only do so many things at one time" - oh I relate to this, Pat! haha Glad you found the post helpful :)"
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 18:13 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Hi Jenna! I love that you have your own spin on this too. Anything that reduces stress is a good thing :-D"
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 18:13 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Hi Jan!"
  • MeezCarrie
    on February 14, 2022 | 18:14 MeezCarriesaid :
    "Hi Tonya! this article has a good explanation of the different types of edits -"
  • Glynis
    on February 14, 2022 | 20:30 Glynissaid :
    "As much as that sounds like a lot of work, I actually love that idea. I am really still in the process of finding my process LOL but I'm beginning to see the value of starting with a skeleton and continuing to fill it out. I've been adapting a novella from a screenplay I cowrote, so it's got the plot and dialogue but not much else. I'm enjoying that and I can see how taking another step further in writing it all again, might work great. Thanks so much for the idea!"
  • Felicityp63
    on February 15, 2022 | 10:58 Felicityp63said :
    "Is your rewrite your second draft?"
  • Erica Vetsch
    on February 15, 2022 | 11:50 Erica Vetschsaid :
    "Wow! I have never thought of starting straight up rewriting the entire document. I love that authors all have unique perspectives and methods and ways that their minds work to bring their excellent stories to life!"
  • Karen Jennings
    on February 15, 2022 | 14:23 Karen Jenningssaid :
    "Hi Kristi, all of the above! Ha I wrote my great-grandmother's story and had a book-published friend to Beta Read the manuscript. Sooo, I've been in the process of "fixing" it, but guess what? I'm going to do what you do! What I need to do is learn all the ins and outs of Word. Thank you for sharing such good information. "
  • Winnie
    on February 15, 2022 | 14:27 Winniesaid :
    "I must say that Kristi's method must work very well, because I love all her books! They're so fun and entertaining! Thanks for the informative post, Kristi! I'm looking forward to your new book!"
  • Connie Porter Saunders
    on February 15, 2022 | 19:59 Connie Porter Saunderssaid :
    "I always enjoy reading how different authors achieve what we readers are looking for---great reads! Thanks for sharing!"
One Thing That Works for Me with guest Kristi Ann Hunter: Rewrite the Book

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