Thousand Roads

A Pokémon fansite dedicated to the creative side of the Pokémon fandom, especially fanfiction.


Negrek Admin

Website: Thousand Roads

Of course! You certainly have more experience with rewrites than I do; I'm mostly just watching the process from the outside.

Incidentally, if you're interested in a conflicting data point, I never started any of my rewrites when I was having trouble continuing the story, as far as I can remember. The most dramatic one, when I hard-rebooted TQftL after chapter 36 of the UMR, happened right before a chapter I'd been planning and looking forward to for aaaaages by that point (the introduction of Spirit and the whole Chosen thing).

That is interesting! Is there any possibility you were kind of afraid of messing up the good part you'd been looking forward to? I tend to fuss a lot more over the chapters I'm really invested in, and when I'm fussing I'm more likely to reach for a distraction, and a negative review would be just the kind of thing to make me think about doing a revision as an excuse not to work more on what I was doing... Of course, it wouldn't have felt like that big of a decision if you were only expecting to invest a couple months in getting it done. Like the time when I thought it was totally only going to take me a few months to write the entirety of Clouded Sky, sob.

You need to get to that good-enough zone, assuming you didn't start in it, and then stop. And that's the hard part: the good-enough zone doesn't feel good enough, it's just a tipping point where the diminishing returns of starting over stop being worth it.

Yeah, the tricky thing is really to find that balance between a rewrite is going to be worthwhile and overall a positive thing, or whether it's going to set you back in the long term. I ended up axing quite a lot of this article, because long as it is now it was even more massive before, and I thought that it lacked focus. On the other hand, I think a bit of the nuance was lost with the cuts; as it is now I think it sounds a bit like "never ever do rewrites they will trap you forever and probably give you cancer," which is a bit extreme. One of the bits that I took out was a discussion of why I thought finishing stuff was so important, which pretty much boils down to opporunity cost: the longer you spend working on one particular idea, the less opportunity you have to work on any other ideas you might come across in the process. So in that respect, I guess the question would be if you had finished the pre-ILCOE (UMR?) version and ended up with a very silly, rather embarrassing piece of work, what would you have lost? If you were still invested in the idea of the story once you'd finished it and wanted to rewrite, you could have gone right ahead. On the other hand, you might have moved on to something else, which you might have ended up being even more proud of.

For comparison, you might consider Morphic. How do you feel about the way that turned out, relative to TQftL? If you'd gone back and redone it at the point where you realized it was going somewhere other than you intended (idk, chapter six or so?), it would have taken you much longer to complete, but it also would have probably been better. Do you regret not doing that? But then, TQftL is kind of a special project for you, if not a magnum-opus sort of thing then at least a story that's particularly dear to you, so I can see how you might feel differently about it than the various pieces you did write straight through, like the Scyther spin-offs.

Which isn't to say that you made a bad choice, since obviously you're very happy with the way things have gone and will end up with a piece of work that you're proud of. (And I look forward to being able to edit this article to go from "I've never seen a chapterfic that finished" to "I've only ever seen one chapterfic that finished.") In a vacuum, though, that's why I wouldn't encourage someone to do a rewrite: because I think you leave yourself more options by getting to the end of a draft and then deciding where you want to go from there. I think if it's something you're really passionate about and really want to see done well, you'll go ahead and rewrite anyway, and be able to do so with the benefit of knowing how the ending worked out, which I think allows you to go into the rewrite with a better sense of what you need to emphasize because you know what you're shooting for. But that's not the best route for everybody.... Probably it would have been better to structure the article in more of a pro/con sort of way, rather than the current incarnation, which is pretty much all "CON, CON, CON" the whole way through.

(By the way, you should totally make it so that you can comment on individual pages, not just updates. That's probably actually possible on this presumably sensibly set up site, unlike mine.)

Totally possible, yes! I guess I wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of comments, and I'm used to a comments-on-news kind of structure. For a comment like yours, though, it would be a shame for it to be relegated to the news post where people reading the article itself probably wouldn't discover it. However, as I only just finished the script that allows me to add admin comments (and sends e-mail comment notifications!), it's clearly going to take a little while to get things moved around, in particular because I think it would make the most sense to merge the guestbook code back into the main app rather than leaving it in a plug-in, argh. And then do I want to keep comments open on news posts, or make it exclusive to articles? Do I want to leave comments open on pages like the metronome generator? So many design decisions. =/ And already I long for comment threading, help.

Thanks for taking the time to write up such a thoughtful reply!

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