1. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Editing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Xatron, Feb 2, 2013.

    I don't really know where this thread is supposed to go so i just post it in general.
    My dilemma is this:is it better to not edit your work at all until you finish the first draft? Because every time i read earlier chapters of my story i find myself severely editing stuff that don't seem good enough and i end up having to edit all the way ultimately holding my progress back by a lot. What i fear though is that if i leave all editing for after i finish, i may miss connections when i do edit that will leave loose ends in the story.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, I think that the opposite is true - it is only upon editing that you see all the loose ends.

    As has been noted elsewhere, this is really a personal choice. There is no "right" answer. I tend to prefer leaving editing until after I'm finished the first draft, because editing is something you do several times over as you polish the finished work. I also tend to prefer to finish a first draft before editing because I prefer to keep moving forward and not lose momentum. In editing, it is too easy to "make the perfect the enemy of the good".

    That's not to say that if I see an obvious error I leave it there, but there is a difference in my approach when I'm writing a first draft and when I'm editing. Besides, even if you edit as you go, you're still going to have to review the work several times after you're done in order to have a truly finished product. No first draft ever went to print.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There is a sticky thread in this forum. What is Your Writing Process? This is one aspect of that thread, whether to edit while writing the first draft. Everyone's process is different, and every writer needs to discover what approach works best for him or her.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    once, mabe, ed... but since the advent of easy self-publishing, from much of what i see out there..........:eek:
     
  5. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I edit/revise as I go - it would drive me nuts not to - so when the so-called "first draft" is done, it's pretty much "it". Caveat - it's also gone through betas, and the polishing comes after completion. I also think "edit as you go" needs to be clarified as to degree - some authors give it as much editing/revising while writing to equal what other writers would go through with several drafts. Some authors are looking only for SPaG and major plot holes. Methodology isn't either/or - it's a spectrum.
     
  6. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    To me, it's simply natural to read over the previous day's work before I start a new writing session. It helps me recover the voice I was using, the tone, and any plot threads and unfinished metaphors, etc. that I can carry on using. When I do that, of course I encounter parts I want to add to, change, or delete, so I find myself starting each session by extensively editing the previous session's work. When I'm happy with it, I can carry on with new material.

    As others have pointed out, this is a personal choice. There is no generally-applicable rule. You have to find out what works best for you. Questions like this one are debated all the time on this forum, and it always comes down to the same answer: What works best for you?
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I begin a writing session making changes and corrections that have bugged me from the previous writing session. It's in my nature that I remember, almost verbatim, what I did in the previous writing session, and there are always things I need to fix before I can move forward. Once I make those changes, I can focus enough to lay down the next section Also, it adds a degree of continuity between sessions.

    It's not for everyone, but it works for me.
     
  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I have become a believer in writing and forgetting. It works amazing. I write, then let it sit for a few days or a week, then I go back and read it with fresh eyes and edit the whole thing. It is very difficult to egit as you write because all the things you WANT to say are still lingering in your head. You gotta get rid of the cobwebs, first. ;)
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Well, yes, that's true.
     
  10. NellaFantasia
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    NellaFantasia Member

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    As most have already said, it's a personal preference. However, it sounds like your editing experience is keeping you from finishing your story. Perhaps try to hold on the editing and just keep writing? If it begins to bother you, then you can always go back and continue doing what you were doing before. There's no harm in trying a different approach since it's not permanent.
     
  11. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I used to do the write > go back and edit thing, but it took me forever because I'm very meticulous. I write the first draft pretty quick, like a skeleton, then go from there and re-write... I find it works exponentially better for me! =]
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that there are any number of effective ways to write. I'd say that the determining factor is whether you're making forward progress in the story, and it sounds like you feel that you're not, so I'd suggest trying a different process.

    One thought: If you do leave loose ends by not doing enough editing, that means, I would guess, that you'll lose time in fixing those loose ends. But you're losing time in over-editing, now, so you might actually end up ahead even if you have loose ends. I understand that you're probably afraid that you'll have a loose end that makes the whole plot unravel, but I think that you can't be absolutely confident of preventing that either way. So, try something different.

    What particular 'something different'? I'd suggest a middle ground of editing only the last session or two of work, and only once, and leaving older material alone until the whole draft is finished. But that's just because that's something that would work for me. I would feel that I was laying a fairly solid path as I was moving along, but I wouldn't be excessively distracted from moving forward.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some of us knock down the cobwebs as they appear, though, instead of letting them accumulate. ;)
     
  14. b3av3r
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    b3av3r Member

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    When I was writing on a daily basis I would spend one day writing then one day editing. I used this back and forth technique so I could continue putting my new ideas on paper and keep any huge problems from popping up. If I had some good ideas on an "editing day" I would make a few notes for the next day.
     
  15. Islandwriter
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    Islandwriter Member

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    I prefer to write at least 5-6 chapters before i do any serious editing. Before i begin writing i do spelling and grammar check on the previous days writing, but nothing more. Like someone else mentioned, i loos momentum if a stop and go back and into too deep in editing.
     

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