1. PhaiRo
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    PhaiRo New Member

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    Filling in the Details...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by PhaiRo, Apr 1, 2011.

    I find it sometimes tough the first time through a chapter, to put all the pretty details that are clear in my head, into words on the paper. I'm practicing just moving on, no matter how bad it looks...I'm worried that if I move on too much, I will forget...Or perhaps moving on will allow me to go back and fill in all those beautiful metaphors a setting details?

    I figure this is something all writers go through, especially on the first draft what do you all do in these situations?

    I once heard someone say, 'give yourself permission to write bad.' I love this advice, but it's easier said than done.
     
  2. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It isn't necessary, or even desirable, to put all the details in your head into the piece you're writing. You want to give the readers room to imagine the details themselves. Some things, yes, you want to be specific. But I find a good rule of thumb is to give the reader just the amount of detail necessary to move the plot or to catch the flavor.

    OTOH, if you're passionate about something that is a detail or background, go with it and see how it comes out. One 19th century writer I enjoy a lot is Anthony Trollope. He absolutely loved fox hunting, and there are fox hunt scenes in a number of his books (e.g. "Phineas Finn" from the "Pallisers" series). It's a chance to provide background, give a greater sense of detail as to the characters and perhaps some allegory as to the story itself.

    If you look to publish, your detail or background might ultimately get cut, but don't worry about that when you're writing. One of the reasons giving yourself permission to write badly is such a good idea is that often times, you can't really tell good writing from bad until you see it on the page. Writing maxims are often stated in absolute terms, but in the end it comes down to a matter of balance.

    Good luck!
     
  3. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I just write my first draft for me is about introducing characters and nailing the story. It tends to be dialogue heavy - next time through I add their surroundings and extra thoughts. My books are generally about 30-40K longer on the rewrite than first draft,
     
  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    And I'm exactly the opposite - my rewrites are always 30K-40K words less.
     
  5. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    For me I've found it kinda evens out. I'm working on something where I've cut out stuff, but then wrote three more chapters.
     
  6. FictionAddict
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    FictionAddict Senior Member

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    For me what's difficult is to write about landscapes, describing cities, detailing the places where my characters are. My drafts lack on that severely, while they overflow with dialog and internal monologs.
     
  7. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    I almost completely drop descriptions on the first draft. At times I confuse myself because I don't even write down where the characters are... But on the second draft I take my time and try to describe things as well as I can while cleaning up all the bad writing. Just don't look back until you are done is my advice.
     
  8. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    A lot of you guys have some good detail about writing first drafts and second drafts. I often get tied up in what details I should include in the book. Normally, I often jot all my ideas down on paper before I decide to "write it well." It has worked for me, that adding details to my story first without thinking about the title, second draft, etc. First.

    Then, use the first draft and write them into chapters, add the plot holes into your story as if you aren't really publishing it. Then review your first draft book and read it to yourself. Then, I would re-write the ideas in the planning stage. It has helped me a lot to rewrite the design document and then the actual book. The second to third re-writes normallly helps me put my plots in line and get things done. In the second draft, my brain already knows what to write in the thrid draft and it will line the plot up for me without me requiring to think harder than the first one. This is why I feel that the third drafts are easier to write than first drafts. It gets easier.
     
  9. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    You can't possibly know the first word is perfect until the last word is written. Don't worry about these things until you're ready for revision, as anything you write before that are just notes and suggestions on how you might handle revisions.
     
  10. Invincible
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    Invincible Member

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    Are the details important to the story is it meant to be sensuous? There isn't a need to stock imagery into a place when they can be excluded. I'm quite minimalist, but where the details matter, I know.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Wow, that's impressive! My current story is only around 50K so i I was able to add another 30 or 40K I would be really happy but that doesnt seem possible :rolleyes: I wish I had that ability too. But I have about the same approach, the details: descriptions, additional thoughts and stuff comes in the following drafts, but I am getting better at descriptions, which makes me hopeful. :)
     
  12. BillyxRansom
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    BillyxRansom Active Member

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    This.
     
  13. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by FictionAddict View Post
    For me what's difficult is to write about landscapes, describing cities, detailing the places where my characters are. My drafts lack on that severely, while they overflow with dialog and internal monologs.


    I agree, those are the toughest and the easiest parts for me too.
     
  14. aimi_aiko
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    aimi_aiko Contributing Member

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    I'm not completely sure that this may help you, but I have these moments constantly. It was really bad when I would read over what I had previously written. Everytime I read over something again, I erase almost everything I see. I'm currently working on a novel piece (or at least I hope it will be) and I've been writing on it so much, but I defeat the temptation to read it over. Usually, when I have the bad temptation, I stop writing, I hand the notebook to my friend and I have her read it. That is my only way of getting it away from me for a moment in time to gather my thoughts. By the time the notebook returns to me, I begin writing again, because while it was gone, I was gathering more things to write. I do this just to avoid reading it over. I plan on reading it over once it is finished, and that will be a long time from now.

    You will learn to defeat this. I promise. Every writer experiences something along these lines, and all writers come up with som type of ritual in order to make themselve feel more confident about their writing. My ritual, on the other hand, may not be something that would work for you, because every writer handles it differently. Though, once you find your way, keep it in your mind, and you will defeat your issue.

    Good luck writing!
     
  15. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The first time I completed my first book (edited and everything) it was 49K - after my more recent complete rewrite it now stands at 79K.

    My current work in progress first draft was 75K and looks like finishing at over 100K probably around 120K.

    My novella was at 20K I don't know how long it will finish it at but when I rewrote the first 800 words I had nearly 3000 words and still haven't included all of it.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did manage to add another 10K eventually, so now at least it has some kind of novel length (51K), but I doubt it will ever reach up to 60K... does it mean it is doomed? :) I don't know which is the absolute word-minimum for swedish publishers to even consider your work, but if i am not mistaking, one girl I heard of had a 50K novel published recently. I didn't have this problem with my first novel, that was around 85K...
    PS that was what I intended with that old thread about Taker-outters or putter-inners. Some people have to cut 30K when editing and some manage to add some well-needed 30K... :rolleyes:
     
  17. Invincible
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    Crazy idea here: but content might matter more than the word-count.
     
  18. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn't doing either at that stage lol as a writer my ability changes. Also this for me is pre edit stage :) - if you want me to look at a page feel free to ask.

    I do still find I take out a lot, I just put even more back in lol

    Personally I find word count a good guide to the pacing and flow of the work. At 50K I know my book has been more likely been influenced by my years of writing site reports and museum labels. The story will be good but it can be better and paced slower become more thoughtful.
     
  19. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I find moving on in situations where you get a little stuck is usually the best option. That sensation you get is a pretty good indicator when the description or action whatever is dragging on.

    Read it over later, and if it's not enough, you can always add more.
     
  20. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    We already know that :)
    That doesn't mean that one can't discuss that anyway, does it? :rolleyes:
     
  21. Invincible
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    Obviously not, but I'd not lose any sleep over a short/large word-count.
     
  22. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Obviously it has no impact on the quality of your writing - which is great every writer works differently.

    However for me it is indication of how good a plot of mine is. I write very naturally busy plots, lots of action, lots of big visual descriptions, in the head thoughts, loads of interaction.

    I have fitted into 50K a yacht being torpoedoed, king assasinated, internet stalkers, corrupt generals, execution, bird fights, magic, the mysterious abbot, my MC being poisoned, him getting married, teen pregnancy, a suicide attempt, my MCs brother coming out of the closet, a serial killer, a battle to take over an army base, coronation, birth of a baby, an assassin running around with poison arrows, a bullying teacher, finding of a sacred temple, an introduction to most of the elemental monarchs, the kidnap of a small child and her grandmother. And those are just the major incidents. That is an indication that the plot is moving too quickly, I rewrote it many times and it is now better and 30K longer.

    Also when I have an idea of length of plot I have an indication of how long it will take to write and can organise what I am going to write and when.
     
  23. Invincible
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    The pace of your story was too fast for your taste, and you tweaked it. The difference in word-count is merely the consequence of said action.

    Did you seriously add thirty thousand words to the story b/c the word-count was too low? I should hope not. It sounds like edit added significant length to the novel to keep the pace less erratic.

    I suppose length itself could pose an issue in a novel of loose plot, but again, the writer should probably know when enough is enough as opposed to fussing about 80K/200K words.
     
  24. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    What? No really, I have no clue what you're trying to say... :(

    The only argument I've ever seen made against such a statement that content is more important than word count were by people willing to sacrifice content to meet artificial word counts (which is completely valid as a business/marketing technique, but imo not as a writing technique).

    You seem to be making a different argument, but lost me.
     
  25. popsicledeath
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    popsicledeath Banned

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    If there were some way to assign a value to how many words it should take for a plot to come to fruition, and that number was say 75k, and one writer wrote 75k and another wrote 100k, and both were really skilled writers, then I would argue one of these writers has unnecessary details and fluff padding the word count that could be cut and still have the plot be fully actualized, then I would say one of these writers is in fact writing at a lesser quality.

    Some would even argue, in today's literary-business environment, that the writer that can do the same thing with less words has advantages on just about every level, including the subjective notion of 'quality' in many cases.

    What I mean in these examples is that a writer that can accomplish all the same plot points and meaning in less words, imo IS a better writer, and word count can have a profound impact on, or indicator of, the quality of writing.
     

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