1. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    Do you edit while writing or after?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by cjs0216, Dec 1, 2010.

    Funny story...a couple of months ago, I tried with no luck to find something that I had written on another writing site in 2006...I mean for hours I looked for this post and came up with nothing. I knew key words, what I thought was my user name, nothing even brought me close. Well today, while Googleing to see what was connected with a user name I had previously used, I actually managed to find the passage I had been looking for. It was the start of this idea that I had for a Greek gods/goddesses thing I'd had in my mind since I was a kid...I was totally stoked that I found it.

    Anyway, bringing me to the point of this thread, I remembered that I had edited a lot while writing this mythology thing and even after reading 4 years later, there isn't a lot I would change about it. I;m just curious if any of you have had success with writing this way or is it some sort of novel writing no-no to edit while you write...
     
  2. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that it is generally a bad idea to edit as you write. Perhaps it is acceptable to edit a sentence you just wrote, but looking back over paragraphs, pages, or even chapters, is bad news.

    Personally, it stunts my progress and creates insecurities. What you might gain in pretty or impressive sentences, you lose from the momentum of just getting the idea down on paper and sealing the first draft. The more I write, the more I realise that best results are achieved by doggedly seeing my chapters through to the end without nitpicking at sentences.
     
  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    After after after after. Times a thousand.

    I kept trying to revise while I wrote on the novel I'm on now, and it held me back from moving forward on the plot for like 2 months.

    The only exception is if you're solely editing for stuff like SPAG. Fixing 10 comma screwups in the first scene is better than fixing 100000 through your entire novel.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, I do edit as I write.

    I write a section. The next time I sit down to write, I review what I wrote the session before, editing it--fixing grammar, dialogue, minor plot concerns. Then I move forward and add new words.

    Next session, I sit down and review the previous new words and edit, then add more words. Every now and then I go back and review several chapters, catch minor stuff and make sure the plot is moving along and things are consistent.

    Not everyone does it that way, but it sure makes the first draft a lot cleaner and less of a task to get it ready to submit for publication (be it novel or short story), and it works for me.

    Terry
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Terry, that is my habit as well. After a writing session, what I wrote is still circling my brain, so for the next 24 hours or so, I find things I want to change next time the writing is in front of me. So I make those changes, and it gets me in the groove to write the new material.

    Every writer has his or her own way of doing things. Experiment until you find what works best for you.
     
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I do sometimes look back to make sure I'm being consistent with what I've previously written, or that my story is moving forward in a consistent way, and I will sometimes eidt if I find something not quite right. But I generally keep pushing the story forward, wanting to make sure I get the framework down before I start tightening up. It does mean longer and many more editing sessions, but at least I have something whole to work on.
     
  7. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I edit as I go, too. Like a couple of posters above, I like to start a writing session by reviewing the previous session's work and fixing problems, adding new material I thought of since writing, and generally getting it as good as I can before I carry on with the story.

    I tried it the other way - putting my head down and charging ahead, getting it all down on paper before I even looked at it. And I hated the process and the product. I wound up with a first draft that was a mess, a draft I just hated. It was embarrassing, and a huge downer to read. Fixing it up looked like a monumental task. When I edit as I go, I wind up with a first draft that's pretty good, even if it took a few wrong turns along the way. It's something I can be proud of, and rereading it doesn't make me miserable.

    So for me, editing as I go is the only way. It's the way I can be happy with my day-to-day work. If I don't do it, then I find I can't really be proud of what I'm doing as I go, and if I can't be proud of it, I find I just don't want to bother doing it.
     
  8. xxkozxx
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    xxkozxx Active Member

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    I follow the slam it down...close it...open it and reread / revise...write more....repeat process. I find it easier to to it so that each writing session brings me right back into the story so that I can move forward with it.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I write disastrously slowly because I edit literally as I write. I can't just slam out a few pages in one go before editing (yet alone an entire draft), I'm constantly criticising in my head as I invent new sentences, criticising as I type them, immediately rewriting if I don't like it. On the one hand, I generally don't have to do colossal rewrites because by the end of the first draft, most things are more or less as I want them to be, but on the other, in the time it takes me to finish one draft writing this way, other writers could probably have done several drafts and arrived at a comparable level of quality. But it works for me, I guess, and it means I'm constantly thinking about the words, structures and technical elements, which is more important to me than the story itself.
     
  10. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    I just finished up my session for the night, and I'm finding out that the edit while you write process is working for me. I've gained some insight into my characters and thought of new ways to move the story a long. Hopefully, this'll keep up...if not, I haven't lost that much as I'm only about 4k in to the story so far...lol
     
  11. cjs0216
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    cjs0216 Member

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    That's exactly how I feel...
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am more a get it out purely because to me the entire first draft is expendable. I delete, write, delete some more and then usually completely rewrite it - for me there is no point in editing something that may not exist in the final draft anyway.

    If I couldn't write at the rate I do - deleting thousands of words would require a lot more thought.
     
  13. Hershey
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    Hershey Member

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    I tend to employ a combination of these techniques, not unlike Terry or Cogito.

    How often I edit really depends on the length (and content) of what I'm writing. The shorter a piece is, the more often I check my progress. I don't usually try to completely revise the piece during these progress checks; I just try to make sure that there aren't any grammatical mistakes/my sentence structure makes sense/there's no redundancy/etc.

    Also, if I'm doing something like a research paper, that will require more organization (and, likely, less creativity), I edit more often to be sure that my subject isn't distorted by an excess or lack of details in one particular area.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    sometimes one, sometimes the other, sometimes both...
     
  15. SRCroft
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    SRCroft Member

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    Flow

    I would love to say I wait until after I'm done the draft. It's always my intention to it that way. Usually once I hit a milestone, and maybe feel a few questions pop up about how to proceed, I take the time and will jump back and reread.

    I have created some awesome work going back (I wouldn't take it back), but It leaves, at least for me, openings to hesitation, second guessing, rewrites, and more.

    Ultimately, what makes you happy and keeps you writing at the time? This is probably how you should decide to flow at that time. For good or bad, if you don't like what your doing, either way would do more damage to your story.
     
  16. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    Whenever I write, I 'design' my ideas first before I even start on the first draft. In other words, I put all my ideas down on paper without assigning the scenes chapters or nothing. In the document, I don't care about spelling and grammar, because it's a design document, not the novel. This way, when I start the editing process as I write my first draft, I don't have to dig and figure out what to write next, which won't slow down my write. By having a design document, I can rewrite sentences in the first draft as I go along without relying on my memory.
     
  17. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    I edit the immediate vicinity as I write, and when I get a touch of block I edit in a rough, haphazard way. Then when I'm done writing, I go over it again front to back.

    -Frank
     

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