Monday, June 6, 2011

Why Rewriting Is Like A Cover Song

So. Rewriting. My current task. 

Confession: I LOVE rewriting. Like, LOVE. 

Drafting... not so much. But rewriting gives me this unspeakable sense of purpose. I know where I'm going. I know what I have to do. I know Draft #1 is stoopid, and I have new ways of making it better. 

A couple weeks back, while I was still on hiatus, I braced myself for the Epic Rewrites of Epic Proportions I had to face soon. I was happy, but scared. 

Then I thought about cover songs.

You know, the new versions of older songs that are sort of different, but not at all? Some people hate them, but I tend to like them. To me, a cover song is kind of like an homage to that original version. It's saying, "You're so awesome and I want to be just like you."

But it's also saying, "I found another way to make you sound awesome."

Some artists record covers using the same instruments/vocal range as the original. Others do a 180 on the original and keep only the lyrics intact. Either way, they're slaving over the new version, trying to do the original justice. In their hearts, I'm sure artists doing covers know the original is much better than their versions, but that doesn't stop them from trying. 

With rewrites, you're doing Draft #1 justice, but you're making it awesome in a different way. A clearer, more streamlined way

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself, folks. Do it till there's nowhere left to push you. 

To wrap this post up, I'd like to share the original and cover song versions that inspired it:

Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"


30 Seconds To Mars's "Bad Romance" cover.

Now tell me: what do you think of cover songs? Any cover songs you love better than the original? 


  1. Awesome comparison! I'm in the middle of a draft 2 right now, and it's exactly that. Sorry, first draft - you had some things right, but let's try for a little bit of pizazz here and there.

  2. A month ago, I would have said you were nuts for digging rewrites, but these days, I get it. It's like the exciting parts of first-drafting, with less of the do-I-suck fear.

    It's weird, really, because if you said to anyone else, "Hey, I worked on this project for months and now I'm going to re-do it all! Yay!" But other writers get it :)

  3. Oooh now if I thought this way maybe re-writes won't feel so tedious and hard work! I love your cover song analogy - and Bad Romance being The Song for me last year, I was a bit unnerved by this new version - but it's ok - powerfully sang!

    Good luck with your rewrites!! take care

  4. I'm the total opposite. I love first drafts - the words flow and inspiration hits and I love all my ideas!! The bummer is when you have way too many ideas and plots all over the place and about 100 characters too many...hence the rewrite hell I've found myself in recently! I'll try your way and embrace it, though, or I'll never get it done!

  5. Hmm, I like Justin Timberlake's version of "Hallelujah," but not sure if I like it better than the original. I'm SO with you about rewriting though. Give me a rewrite any day over first drafting. :)