1. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Between First Draft and First Revision

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TDFuhringer, Dec 1, 2013.

    Hello all. I'm back after a long hiatus. Sorry for that.

    There's good news though. I've been writing instead of browsing forums and facebook-ing all day. :)

    I've worked out most of my process. Yesterday I finally reached my goal of writing at least 3000 words per day. I'm making excellent progress on the first draft of a novel. No writer's block, (doesn't exist really) no problems, everything is going smoothly.

    Here's my question:

    Most (if not all) writer's advise taking a break between writing the first draft and editing the first revision. This advice applies to me especially since I no longer edit while writing a first draft.

    But I don't want to take time off from writing. And I have so many ideas and notes for what needs fixing, I want to get started on the editing process as soon as my first draft is finished.

    What alternatives are there for taking a break between drafts?

    I've had several ideas, but none seem 'ideal'.

    1) Start editing immediately after finishing the first draft.
    Pros: Ideas are still fresh, momentum is maintained.
    Cons: Distorted perspective, no clinical detachment.

    2) Start immediately on a new novel, finish the first draft of the new novel, then return to the first draft of the previous novel.
    Pros: Perspective is completely reset, revision can begin with maximum detachment.
    Cons: Ideas and inspiration may be lost while working on the new story.

    3) Write short stories or merely 'exercises' rather than work for publication.
    Pros: Flexible break duration, ideal detachment and perspective.
    Cons: Time is 'wasted', ideas may be lost while working on new story.

    Any thoughts, suggestions, comments or insights would be greatly appreciated.

    I'm less than a month away from finishing the first draft of my current novel, so this question is right on the horizon!

    Thanks :)
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    This isn't exactly answering your question, but it's all I got. ;)

    I edit as I go. But people have their own styles, I don't believe there is a universal 'best' way.

    I get a story draft out there, but as I go to write it I revise as I go because it affects the story downstream. If I were to wait and start revising at the end, the cascade of changes would need to be redone again and again. If I changed something, I may have to make changes downstream because of it. Then if I changed the next thing, I'd have to do the same, changing some of the things I already changed once.

    I am currently working on the sci-fi contest entry so my novel is on a short time out.
     
  3. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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    Get as far as you can until you run out of juice and then take the break.
     
  4. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep, taking a break is good. Then you can go back with a fresh pair of eyes.

    It's up to you, of course, but how about thinking ahead about what you wanna write next; plan or make notes (if that's what you do). I wouldn't personally write the complete second book before editing the first, but you could always make a start on it. Switch it up - write some short stories if you get inspired. Take a complete break, if you want. Then get back to the editing business. Be flexible would be my biggest advice.
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Hey, welcome back TD!! Good to hear from you!

    I am usually an advocate of taking a break once the first draft is finished because I want to clear my mind of what I was thinking when I was writing and, in a sense, put my editor's hat on and start fresh. I usually take a break of at least four weeks. But something you mentioned caught my attention: "I have so many ideas and notes of what needs fixing." To me, that would be a game-changer. If I already know what I want to tackle, I think I'd want to get right at it.

    But when I take a break, I usually start scoping out my next project.

    Good luck and keep us posted.
     
  6. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Personal opinion:

    1. After the first draft make a pass to clean up all the "whoops" and the things that make you say, "what was I thinking?"
    2. Make a third pass to add sparkle. Look for more interesting ways to state things, jazz up the language and characterization, and add foreshadowing as needed.
    3. Change the margins to move the words around and force yourself to read, and see what's actually on the page as against what you expect to see there.
    4. Print an editing copy because we read differently on the monitor than on the page, though I don't know why.
    5. Walk away for long enough that you forget a bit and therefore see the page more like an reader. At least two weeks.
    6. Edit again.
    7. Have your computer read it to you as you follow along. This helps point out awkward phrases and language that sounds good in your head but not when read aloud.
    8. Do a check for filter (sometimes called crutch) words that distance the reader from the protagonist's POV. And as part of it look at the protagonist's name usage. The third person equivalent of "I" is "he" or "she" not Jack or Jill. For more on what I mean by that, see this.
     
    Andrae Smith, TDFuhringer and TessaT like this.
  7. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    You could write down the ideas you have now, then take a break.
     
  8. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    You could write down the ideas you have now, then take a break.
     
  9. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thank you all for your insightful contributions, it's much appreciated. I will go over these suggestions a few times before I get to the end of my current draft. It really takes a lot to work out your own process, eh?

    P.S. Hey Ed, long time no see :)
     
  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Welcome back. I've been away for a while too, but it's good to see so many familiar names still around.
    As for your question, I think you could easily fix the things you already know must be taken care of before you put it aside for some time. And I advice you to try to let go of it for at least 3-4 weeks, because I find those weeks/months spent away from a text are always worth it, even though it's difficult. As people have said, you could write short stories, plan next novel or stuff like that. Good luck and well done for having come this far as being almost done!
     

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