1. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Breaking on rewrite

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Thanshin, Mar 30, 2011.

    I've got a problem with my basic writing process.

    My writing process is:
    - One of the ideas in my mind grows strong and vivid.
    - I write it down.
    - While I write, the imagined scene advances and grows, but it loses consistency from the initial strong image.
    - I stop when it's becoming tenuous and has lost most of its initial strength.

    Then, usually a while later, I go through the text to review and correct.

    However, I've discovered a problem in the very foundation. When I review and rewrite I don't have the initial strong and vivid image in my head, so, while I'm correcting all kinds of technical flaws I also remove things without remembering why they were important or add others without understanding they don't fit the scene.

    I have to find a way of leaving the scene untouched while I correct the purely technical mistakes.

    Maybe I should write a review for myself like those I write in the writing workshop and then take that into account as a separate action. Doing three passages over the text, touching it only on first and third. That way when I'm reading word by word and not paying attention to the story I don't touch it, and when I'm touching the story I'm actually reading it.


    Well, that was productive. I'll have to consider writing you about my problems just as a way of thinking about them and finding solutions.


    Cheers. :D
     
  2. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I dunno if this would help, but maybe keeping record of certain impressions or emotions that you associate with certain scenes could help. Maybe take some notes about the important elements of the scene (not summarize the scene per se, but just the important emotions or impressions or symbols or whatever), and refer back to them to help you get that image back that you first had. Or maybe you can 'record' such things in different ways; for instance, for me, oftentimes I will really get attached to some music, or rather some song, because it inspires or reminds me of a certain scene - whenever I hear that song, then the scene pops in my head as if it were new, with most of the emotions and the interactions intact.
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I always read my books right through before I begin to edit. I read it as I would any other book - I don't even correct obvious typos, instead I take notes about what I really like, what I don't like, what didn't make sense etc.

    Then I print it out and go through it with a red pen. That allows me to see the big picture in front of me. Finally I change the background on the screen to yellow the writing to blue and change the font. I take one paragraph at a time out of the story and put it in another document, edit it then put it back.

    I do it in order so it is big picture first, then technical, then polish.
     
  4. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Hmm. That's actually a pretty fantastic idea. I do know I keep a single "sensation" or "feeling" in mind when I'm writing. I'll do try to write that down before I start, when it's strong and fresh, so I can try to feel it before I review.

    Yes, that's what I think I'll have to do. But it's so hard to read over my mistakes and not correct them...

    Hmm, the printing might just be the help I needed. I wouldn't think of picking up an actual pen to edit the text, so it would force me to just point the error and keep reading.



    Wow, this has been a productive morning! Thank you both.

    (I hope nobody checks the printer's log. :D)
     
  5. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Your problem might be a problem, but it might not be a problem.

    My favourite time for thinking is while walking alone with my dog in a nearby place of natural beauty, at dusk. (There's something about a day's end..)
    Anyway, as I stroll along, I'm struck by how forceful my ideas, how persuasive, how emotionally resonant. Yet later, I'm (often) struck by how weak and flat those same ideas are.

    The ideas remain the same, the person entertaining them is different. On the walk I'm in a romantic (in the broad sense) frame of mind and every idea plunges deep, but later, with a cup of coffee in hand and under the glare of a 60w bulb, those ideas are hardly felt.

    So might be a problem, might not. If you don't get the force of those ideas when you review do you imagine your readers will get them?
     
  6. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    It's an interesting thought. I think I don't get the feeling behind the ideas because when I review I'm not really reading, but once I do the "writing down the feeling" and the "reading a non editable version" things, I'll also try to pay attention to whether I do get that feeling by reading the text.
     
  7. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    That's what annoys me about reading my fanfiction from five years ago. There were some things that I had good reason for, but didn't feel that the readers needed to know. Embedding some "whys" in the creation file would have been nice.

    One thing I do when writing is if I stop because a conversation isn't going right, or I decide to rip chunks out, I use a table to "contain" what I had wrote. One, the first time I wrote it is usually better than what I write the next time I realize that I do want that bit, and it gives me clues on how I was thinking at that moment.
     

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