1. Hartnell
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    Hartnell Member

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    Edit as you go along or at the end ?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Hartnell, Aug 8, 2011.

    I have heard that some writers write really slowly and edit as they go along, like they write a page or so then work on it. Then there are writers, like S.King, who write faster and edit much later.

    Which do you use and which do you think is best ?

    Paul
     
  2. Leah
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    Leah Member

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    I don't know about "best"...I think it is a personal choice.

    I have done both with my work, depending on the story and how well my writing/flow is going at that moment. If I am totally "in the zone", I will just write and write then pause when a break comes and do some editing. Other times if the story is a "stop/start" kind of write, I will edit as I go and sometimes that actually spurs on my creativity.

    So, that being said, I would just find what works for you and don't worry too much about anyone else ~ it's a journey right? ;)
     
  3. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I prefer the edit later. First of all, if I have spent ages editing and working on a chapter, and I later realize that chapter is just crappy filler that needs to go, I will be much more hesitant to do so than if I had just written it in a hurry. Sometimes I even purposely write parts of my novel that I'm not sure of horribly, so that I won't feel bad if I later on decide to rewrite/remove it.

    Also, just getting the whole story down is a huge process on its own. No reason to make it even worse by having to think about writing well too. Once I am done I read through it, add/remove stuff, then I go through it again and work on all the dialog, grammar and sentences.
     
  4. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    I like to edit it once I've forgotten the ins and outs of my prose. I come back to it and look at it and say, "Damn, I'm good." And then I set about making myself better.

    I do do a bit of editing as I go along too, though.
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm an edit as I go type. Sometimes it's a page at a time, sometimes a chapter. But I also make sure I'm not getting fixated on that instead of progressing with the story. But it really is up to the writer and the story. I know I could never wait and edit after the story's done. I have a hard time giving it the last little read-through as it is (I've only read this a dozenteen times already!), not to mention I'd be continually thinking of alternative routes to take instead of concentrating on the ones I did (yeah, I'm not an outliner, either :p).
     
  6. Liza
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    Liza Active Member

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    I try not to edit as I go along, because it slows me down. I'd rather just write, edit at the end.
     
  7. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I do a bit of editing as I go, but I generally wait until I have a draft completed. I used to tinker a lot more along the way, but found that I would sometimes get in a perpetual editing cycle, where I kept tweaking a chapter instead of getting other chapters done.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with steerpike, I work the same way. I think stopping too many times or for too long interrupts the creativity. if i stop and obsess about every little detail then every little bit of inspiration that I had or the ideas I wanted to put down on paper before they left will inevitably go away. To me it's enough of a distraction having internet connected while writing, it just makes my mind stray from what I am doing.
     
  9. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit once I've completed the story.

    It makes sense to me to do it that way, as you will have a proper overview of everything, and can work with the 'whole picture' in mind.

    Granted, it can be tedious work (I won't lie...) but knowing you're getting closer to having that polished piece of work should give you a push forward. Worked for me... not counting all those days of procrastination. :p
     
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do both. I simply write, then do quick edits as needed. If I'm not satisfied with a paragraph, or even a page, I delete it and try again. Then when I'm done with the first draft, I put it on the phone and read it as a normal e-book to see how I like it. Then I edit it, put it on the phone, read it, edit and so on until I'm happy.
     
  11. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I edit as I go. I can't stand moving on to the next sentence if I'm not happy with the current sentence. Likewise with paragraphs. I start each writing session by reading over and usually making edits on the work I did the previous session - it helps me find the tone as well as the exact place in the story I left off.

    I've tried to charge through a draft with no edits and come back and do all the edits when I'm done, and I hate it. I had a 25,000 word novella that pretty much had to be rewritten from scratch, because the voice was wrong, the paragraph organization was wrong, the characters weren't properly fleshed out, whole scenes were just sketched in or omitted entirely, and it was a giant mess. I wasn't proud of any of it, and getting into the editing job was like trying to clean a sewer. Filthy, stinking work.

    But if I edit as I go, then when I come back to revise after the draft is done, I'm proud of what I've written and not much has to be changed, at least on the micro scale. I might find that I want to add or delete entire scenes (I have no problem cutting 10,000 words I've sweated over for days, if it makes the story better), but that's actually fun. I don't have to rewrite scenes paragraph by paragraph, though, because I got them right the first time through. That makes me happy.
     
  12. frostedfields
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    frostedfields Member

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    With a longer work I edit a bit to get back into the flow of the story. This helps to limit the amount of editing I will need to do in draft 2. Once I get past the first few lines of a short, however, I just write it all out and don't edit much until I come back to revise for the second round. It's all relative to the amount of work I'm putting in to the piece.
     
  13. Cerrus
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    Cerrus Senior Member

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    My personal choice in this situation is to write til the end, then edit. I used to edit as I went along, but I could barely get a page done in weeks! I find it easier to write and fix minor errors such as changing "theyre" to "they're" or proper capitalizations, finish the story, then edit the big stuff later.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think this is the big thing when deciding which method to use. It's very easy to get bogged down with nitpicking over and over. The biggest help in preventing that, for me anyway, is reading it out loud. It makes it very easy to find the parts that aren't working, fix them, and move on. That, and reminding myself that I will be doing a spellcheck and general read-through when it's complete, so the niggly little things don't really matter now. It's the 'big things' that I want to address before they grow into mammoth things (leading to a complete rewrite of the whole story).
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I also think some details you only notice after a while when you have had some distance to what you wrote and had the time to think it over, it's more difficult to see these things right after you've finished the page I think, because in that moment you are still stuck in the thought that made you write what you just wrote.
     
  16. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    I write my first draft without editing at all. Then I rewrite, and here I think more about what I'm actually writing, but I don't get too hung up on things that aren't perfect.

    After that, I get into the nitty-gritty editing stuff.
     
  17. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    I try to write as much as I can, and edit when I am not moving forward. I think going back afterwards gives a fresher perspective than editing immediately.
     
  18. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I'm a bit of whatever goes. I don't edit through everything until I've finished the work, but I might glance at bits here and there, go over some chapters that have been weighing on my mind.

    shadowwalker, are you the same shadowwalker as the one on FictionFactorForum?
     
  19. Fullmetal Xeno
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    Fullmetal Xeno Protector of Literature Contributor

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    Yeah, it's one of those bad habits of mine too. I can't stand seeing red on spell-check. It pisses me off. I can't go any longer than 2 sentences before i edit it. It irritates me. But ive never been extremely far in a book project like that, so im probably gonna be more frustrated then you.
     
  20. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    Before I work on my next section or chapter, I edit the previous one.

    But I also edit after I'm done. I'll let a finished story sit at least six weeks before I go back to edit it. That way I've had time to learn more about writing and my perspective on the story is fresher.

    I've also written an entire first draft, put it aside, and wrote the second draft without looking at the first. It worked well.
     
  21. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're writing your first novel, I would suggest not looking back until you've reached the end. The difference between a dream and a goal is a completed first draft.
     
  22. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I find myself in the bad habit of editing as I go. I find I can't really help it, though -- when I write a sentence and think almost right away "Oh, I have to fix that, that didn't come out right," and end up taking forever to find a proper way to phrase it rather than writing more and fixing it later.
     
  23. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yep ;)
     
  24. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Editing as you go isn't the 'bad' habit - taking forever to get the 'proper way' is the bad habit. It's the difference between getting it right and getting it perfect - one is obtainable, the other never is.
     
  25. Pea
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    Pea super pea!

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    Edit later. If I edit as I write it just kills the creative flow.
     

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