Are editing and re-writing the same thing?

First of all, let’s start with the definitions:

Editing: Preparing (written material) for publication by correcting, condensing or otherwise modifying it. (Source: Google)

Re-writing: Write something again so as to alter or improve it. (Source: Google)

So, both are based around improving the novel, of course. But the problem is in the work involved.


When it comes to rewriting, it means going through each chapter, chapter by chapter, writing it all over again. To be honest, this doesn’t sound very good. Sure, it helps to make the chapter more readable, and of course, practice makes perfect and of course by repeating stuff over and over, they can improve.

Also, there is the infamous 3 tips writing advice:

1. Read a lot.
2. Write a lot.
3. Write, and write again.

Now of course this references to re-writing, and writing each chapter again. People tend to use this advice a lot as it’s often commonly used and helps to improve your writing (as re-writing is more writing!)


This is usually when the current work is amended. Many people go for this if they decide that the current version is the best way of describing the story, but tiny sentences may need to be changed, or words substituted for synonyms. Usually, this is a form of rewriting, as the story is rephrased.

But what do you think? What do you do when writing? Let me know, by commenting below!



2 thoughts on “Are editing and re-writing the same thing?

  1. I usually have the novel in my head like a movie and first write quickly to get the ideas down on paper. Then, as I reread the chapter, I review to ask certain questions of my work: Would anyone care about the characters, are they likeable, realistic, are they conveying the story line? I find when I read another’s novel that if I don’t care about the characters or if the plot is stupid, I won’t finish the first chapter – so it better grab me from the beginning.

    After I’ve completed the rough draft, I let it sit for a month or so. Then I’ll go back and fine tune and keep rewriting to try to convey just the right words to fit my ideas. Would a character use those words in 1960, does this represent the culture of the day and so on? To paraphrase, Finding Forrester: “The first draft you write with the heart, the second draft you write from the head.” Mostly: JUST WRITE, a novel will never be perfect enough for the writer! (I have two books just sitting, out of fear they aren’t good enough yet – I guess I should practice what I preach 🙂 )


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