1. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    edit*!?ing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by madhoca, Dec 19, 2012.

    I'm finishing the final edits on my manuscript--which should have been finished last August--and yesterday I clicked on a folder and found an earlier version of the first chapter.
    Wow, it was great! How did my first two paragraphs morph into their present tedious state?
    Depressed, I copied and compared and thought of putting them back nearer my original draft. No. I remembered then that the flow wasn't logical--and several other reasons I edited them away. I did keep some ideas, though.
    I'm very glad I kept the earlier version, though. I do so many twiddles and tweaks and spend SO LONG FINISHING ANYTHING, I can't have, like "draft 1" "draft 2" etc but just a kind of weekly or monthly step would be an idea.
    I really envy people who can blithely blitz ahead and produce a full "first draft" without revisiting every paragraph 20 times. Or is that dangerous, too?
     
  2. Cerebral
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    Cerebral Active Member

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    Are there really people who can do this?? :confused:
     
  3. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    I guess the same ones who advise "just write" when you mention something like writer's block. Actually, I've proof read stuff that's appeared to have been written by people who think editing is for sissies.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I constantly revise and rewrite as I go. For me, that's the joy of writing. Charging ahead to the end of the first draft without looking back is depressing - I look back when I'm done and see a huge sloppy mess that is so embarrassing to read, so disheartening to contemplate, that I can't bring myself to begin a revision. I can barely keep myself from committing seppuku.

    Of course, when I eventually finish a first draft, it still needs lots of work, but at least it's readable and I can be somewhat proud of it. It's good on a sentence-by-sentence and paragraph-by-paragraph level, even if it has way too many digressions, plot holes, huge gaps, irrelevant chapters, and so on.

    So you're not alone. Just make sure you don't throw anything away. You never know when you might want to go back to an earlier version of your story, or at least of your chapter.
     
  5. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I am. I just finished the first draft of 137,700 word novel. It'll sit a week, and then I'll edit. The thing will probably be somewhere between 100-110k when done..perhaps smaller. it upsets my flow too much to stop and start, stop and start through it.
     
  6. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't tend to mess around with the language too much before draft 1 is done, but I do constantly change the plot when the beautiful clockwork cause-and-effect I thought I had sketched out somehow turns into a pile of exploded springs halfway through writing. Entire sections get discarded this way.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    hehehe I love the way you described it :D Nice imagery and quite amusing!

    Anyway - I always edit as I go, but I don't consider it "editing" if you get me. I think of it as me just writing my first draft, not editing - but I simply wanna make sure as much of it is good as possible before I move on. I'll probably read the same scene anything between 3-5 times, edit edit edit, and then move on. Thank God I do that, in any case, because if rough drafts are still so rubbish even after all this edit-as-I-go-along business, imagine what your rough draft would be like if you didn't do that :D

    There're some writers who profess they can bang out entire polished drafts on the first go and that which needs no editing at all - I don't believe it. I think they're just particularly arrogant.
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...not really... most [if not all] successful novelists do that... it's really more important to get your whole storyline out of your mind and down on paper/screen... second-guessing and editing can come later... doing that as you go usually leads to taking years to write a novel, instead of months... or never finishing it at all...
     
  9. johann77
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    johann77 Member

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    I hate editing and grooming. It's so monotonous. That is why I have such a high grammar mistake problem. I am one of those type of people who have to groom a writing 20 times. uugghh!
     
  10. captain kate
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    captain kate Active Member

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    I don't worry about anything but putting it on the screen. Once that's done, then I'll go back and copy edit first, making sure the right word is in there (since you can have a properly spelled word but it not be the right word. For example: typing 'then' when it's supposed to be 'the'

    It's more important, to me and no one needs to do it my way, to get the idea done. Like Michael Crichton has said, editing is where you make your novel.
     
  11. .Mark
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    .Mark Member

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    I'm the type of person who scrutinizes every paragraph as I'm writing it, looking for the best version possible. It's hard to even consider my first drafts as such because I know how much time I've already spent on it. Even when replying to topics on forums I tend to do this:(
     
  12. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Again, I edit as I go and I've finished every story I've ever started save one. If I were to write the whole thing and go back to edit - those would be stories never finished. The mere thought of finding some plot hole or contradiction back in the third chapter that makes the rest of the book junk makes me shudder. And there are probably just as many successful authors who do this as there are the ones who go through multiple drafts, rewriting and rewriting and rewriting.
     
  13. arinth
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    arinth New Member

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    It looks like the important thing is to do what works for you. I'm with Kate, I have to write and write and not look back until the end and then go back and edit. If I were to keep editing and revising as I wrote I would make much less progress. As others have said though the exact opposite works for them. Having a routine and being comfortable with your approach is key to being productive (IMO).
     
  14. Griplan
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    Griplan Member

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    I can't remember where I read this, but it was a technique to cut down on nitpicking paragraphs as you go. You cover your screen with a piece of paper and then you just type away.
     
  15. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I agree with this. I used to write 3000 words one day, then the next day, go through and complete a brief edit.

    Now, I write and I look back only a little. What I have learned from my short life as a writer is no matter what, your first draft is going to look nothing like your final draft. It's kind of a waste of time to write a chapter then stop and try to turn it into a masterful first chapter. The more you write, the more you discover about what you're writing, to the point where you'll start to think: 'oh crap, now that so and so is happening in ch 5, I have to go back to ch 2 and put this and this in...'

    Get what I mean?

    I think a first, jumbled, messy draft is the way to go. Get it all out, go back, look at it all at once, have a good idea of what you have now and where you want to go later...

    my 2 cents.
     
  16. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Or you'll realize, 'oh if this happens in ch 5, I'd have to go back and change ch 2 - so this can't happen in ch 5'. ;)

    As always, what works for one won't work for another. There is no universal "best method".
     
  17. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I believe that when you just write and not look back is much better. Sometimes when you over think, over analyse or overdo something you just end up making a mess of what you thought was a mess. I have restarted the first chapter of my current novel yesterday and when I looked back at the old version-the messy one- I found it was much better than the one I put too much thinking into.

    The thing is that when you write just for the sake of writing the ideas down, you don't think much which makes it more natural. Writing that chapter made me decide to just sit down and write even if later it sounds more like rubbish than anything.
     
  18. Thumpalumpacus
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    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

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    I write the first draft with some -- but not much! -- editing. I write it in longhand, and then commit it to disk at intervals -- every few thousand words. This forces a reread and revision of the recent work, but that revision is usually perfunctory, catching inconsistencies and pruning the awkward phrases that sometimes come in the heat of simply tying the story down to paper. Once I'm done with the "first draft", I let it sit for some time, a couple of weeks or so, and then go back and clean it up. That's the stage where I'm scrapping adverbs and run-on sentences like the plagues they are.

    I've got a couple of friends whose writing I respect and whose opinions I value. I turn it over to them and get their impressions and sometimes specific advice, and then reread with their words in mind. That will see more revision.

    I save a copy at each stage.
     
  19. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    hahahaha! yes, this is another possibility...
     

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