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  1. Birmingham
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    Birmingham Active Member

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    HOW do you write?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Birmingham, Mar 26, 2012.

    So, how do you write? For example, in the first draft, when you're writing a chapter, do you try to make it as close to perfect as possible? Do you try to write a version that would be somewhat close to the final draft, with the dialogues, the inner thoughts of the characters, the details and descriptions of what they wear and how they fight or hug or kiss? Or, do you just write a general description "and then Max meets Jane, and then they talk about WWII and then he kisses her." and then just wait for when the novel or large chunks of it are done before you return to that chapter and write in more detail?

    That's how I used to write papers for uni. Just have a flawed rough draft with titles of chapters and information inside, and then return to it and edit the crap out of everything. Sort of like drawing with your pencil and only when you're done coloring it. But when I write fiction, I tend to do the first one, of focusing a lot in each chapter I'm in, researching as I write, trying to make that chapter be at least 90% of what I imagine the final draft to be.

    I ask these questions because I never learned how to write professionally, and some of you have eluded that I might be doing it wrong.
     
  2. Dryriver
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    Dryriver Senior Member

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    I try to write carefully, and slowly, and write as well as I can, even if it is just the "First Draft". There are things editing after the fact can fix. But not if the First-Draft is a total mess.

    My advice would be to write as well and as beautifully as possible in the First Draft, then, in much the same way, edit as well and as beautifully as you can when you review your draft.
     
  3. Erato
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    Erato Contributing Member

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    Always, writing everything, I write the first draft as if it were the last.
     
  4. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I just try to write well. I do like to fix things and re-write as I go, but no matter how much effort I put into anything I always end up re-writing or heavily editing entire chapters anyway.
     
  5. krtr
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    krtr Member

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    Let me just add my string of crazy to this thread.

    I write on the bus. The train. The U-bahn. I don't care. Most of my initial drafting is done in either my blackberry or ipod's notes systems. Things get crazy in those little haphazard programs. Things are incorrectly spelled, punctuation is fleeting. A lot of it eventually gets dropped or the wording changed completely, but the spirit of the moment is what I like carrying my scenes. Because I tend to write on the fly since I've lived in Germany, because my transportation time is the most 'down time' I have, I find that my writing has a different flavor than when I wrote only in my word processor with careful attention.

    There will be time later to make it look pretty. I'd rather spend my writing moments just getting it all out there before my brain can change the spirit of the passage.
     
  6. Anitorious
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    Anitorious New Member

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    I have to sit down at my computer or writing pad and pour all my focus and attention into my writing, even the slightest distraction sends me off course for a good half hour.
    I try and write as close to my final piece as I possibly can, which can make it a very long writing process. A couple of hundred words over a few nights, but admittedly I haven't excercised my brain in this way for a very long time, meaning I still need the practice! :p
    Writing out a quick outline of each chapter helps immensely though as I do like to ponder around writing incohesive paragraphs here and there if I let myself!
     
  7. Henning
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    Henning Member

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    I tend to write laughing my ass off at people who say "show don't tell"...
     
  8. Anitorious
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    Anitorious New Member

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    Personally I'd heed such advice, but that's just my opinion. :)
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I try to write as well as I can every time I sit down for a writing session. Ideally, I'd like my first draft to be the only one I need, but that never actually happens.

    I strongly disagree with those who say you should just scribble it all out as fast as possible just to get the whole story down on paper, and then make it nice and pretty in revisions. I find there's almost nothing more depressing as a writer than to face a pile of manuscript that is practically all rubbish and has to be rewritten from scratch, paragraph by paragraph. I'd be so tired of the story at that point and so reluctant to plow into it again. But there's nothing so exciting as a writer than to manage to get a really good paragraph down, a really good page down. If, at the beginning of a session, I can read over what I wrote the previous session and say, "Hey! This is really good!", then I'm happy and charged up and ready to go.
     
  10. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    I write the first draft as best I can without obsessing over it, and then through revision I write it better.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write the first draft as good as I can too, but that sometimes interferes with me trying to get the ideas down before they go away. I don't write like in your second example though, but with dialogue, feelings, description and all. Just that it is never enough and of course there is always something to go back and clarify, rewrite or describe better after I'm done. What I'm writing now is slowed down considerably because I seem to want it nice right away and I keep going back and revise it at the end of each session. I don't use to work like that so I'm a bit sceptical right now. Especially since it's already hard to write it without stopping all the time. I use to be a quite fast first draft writer, with my last story I had it finished in two months, the second in a couple of weeks and now we're both resting. :) As slow as this story has started I'll be happy if I finish it before the end of the year ... AND I hope it doesn't read as slow as It is to write, god forbid!
     
  12. Phoenix Hikari
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    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

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    I write with details every chapter and after finishing said chapter, I go back to it and try to perfect it as much as I can. When that's done, I move to next chapter and so on. When everything is in place, I edit the first draft as a whole, then redo it.... until I am satisfied.

    I read on a website for (How to write a novel) that different people have different approaches to their first draft. I think that's reflected clearly through the posts in this thread.
     
  13. Whirlwind
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    Whirlwind Member

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    My first drafts are all about trying to fill in as much of the cycle as is possible.
     
  14. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    You will find all manor of methods, depending on who you talk to. Outline, no outline, multiple drafts, one draft, edit as you go, edit on completion - and every possible variation of each. You aren't doing it wrong if it allows you to finish the story so you're happy with it.
     
  15. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    I spend a lot of time on the outline. Like, alot. I don't generally start writing - except experimentally, sometimes - until I'm happy with the outline, which by then could almost be called a first draft.

    It helps me to do the plot-weaving and actual writing separately. Sounds redundant, but it seems like alot of people try to do both at the same time. Craft the plot as they go, that kinda thing. Which is fine if it works I guess, but I've never heard of someone writing themselves into a corner while working with an outline/plot that's been fine-tuned before hand. It's just easier overall, in my experience.
     
  16. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yup, I try to make the first draft as perfect as possible, but I try to keep in mind that if I am itching to write, I should write and leave editing for a bit later. But by the time I am finished with the story's first full draft, I would have edited it quite heavily, so the story is at least presentable. But I still go over it a few times, waiting for people's feedback and so on, before I am happy to submit it to the publisher.
     
  17. Cassiopeia Phoenix
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    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

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    I am a Grammar Nazi, so my "drafts" are always perfect from the point of view of language. I edit them if I want to change something about the idea, or if I want to add or delete a sentence that could change something plotwise.
    Anyhow, I spend all my day daydreaming, reading and watching movies, until I have a good idea, then I go writing. I have patience, though, because my ideas are not always ready, so I have to write and think about it. My problem is making to the end, because I drop ideas a lot. Sounds great in my head, and not so great in the screen or in the notebook...
    I am an all over the place writer: my folders in my notebook are not organized, I do have a software for organizing things like scenes, places, characters that I don't use. I scribble everywhere, everything is a mess. But it works for me, and I can only work like that.
     
  18. PrettyLittleWonderland
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    PrettyLittleWonderland New Member

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    I write the first draft as though it were the final draft, as well. However, after I finish a chapter or a section of my novel, I put it away for a day or two, then go back and re-read. I always find something that's fixable :)
     
  19. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I'll outline first, as completely as possible. I try to stick to the outline, but it doesn't always happen. If something occurs organically as I write, I'll go with it. I then want the first draft to be as good as possible. However, if a particular section is holding me up I'll just try to get it down and polish it later. At night, as I drift off to sleep, I will generally visualize what I hope to get done the next day.
     
  20. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I write the first draft with the knowledge that I'm creating raw material and that there will be drastic, extensive editing before I consider the work even remotely final. Now, I like to have _lots_ of raw material, so I'll usually still include the details, the dialogue, everything. But I put a much higher priority on getting the words on the screen, than I do on making them polished final-draft-quality words.

    One critical fact here is that I _enjoy_ editing. I enjoy it more than writing. Pushing paragraphs and pages and even blocks of thousands of words around, finding the core of the story in the heap of words and throwing away the five pages that came before what I now discover to be the story's beginning, I enjoy all that.
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i just write as the words come to me... many times, especially in writing essays and poetry, it comes out in final draft form... when it needs editing, i edit...

    shadowwalker's words bear repeating... [well, except for 'manor' where it should be 'manner'... but i kinda like the typo... all 'houseful' of methods has a nice, quirky feel]

    love and hugs, maia

    and, btw, you may want to look up the word 'eluded' and the term 'alluded to'... ;-)

    shadow
     
  22. Kaymindless
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    Kaymindless Contributing Member

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    Shadowwalker is right. Nothing's wrong if it's your method and it works for you.

    That being said, I'm apparently the rare breed who kind of just writes it down and ignores the issues. Honestly, I write on paper first, with pen, so I'm not erasing anything and other than the misused word, I try not to scratch things out. When I type it in, I type it as I wrote it because I'm not paying much attention to it past getting it in an easily editable document (until I come across a section of my writing that I can't read then there's a lot of 'what the...')

    I do try to keep in mine a handful of things I need to work on. For example, I've noticed one of my characters smiles... a lot. To the point that I'm trying to break that habit with better descriptions.

    But I'm the dive into it and sprint to the finish line person, apparently. No need for it to be pretty as long as I get there. I also don't see it as Minstrel does, so it's not like I'm sitting down to edit rubbish, I'm sitting down to fix issues that would be there no matter how much time I spent on a sentence/paragraph/scene.
     
  23. There_She_Goes
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    There_She_Goes Member

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    First, I design the whole thing to the very last detail. Then I start writing :). I really love it when I actually get to start a novel. It's so wonderful it makes me crazy. And I never suffer from writing. But I do suffer from all the background work I need to do... XD History history history history and once again history.
     
  24. DaVinci
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    DaVinci Banned

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    Just write the first time through. Every subsequent time thereafter will be cleaning it up.
     
  25. HarryBard
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    HarryBard New Member

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    I find it hard starting a story to write.
    Damn that brain activity and all those ideas.
    I just start writing and it all comes as a whole.
    I wrote about 584 words in my first written piece, and I can still go over it and "polish" it here and there just so it's "perfect".
    I will post some of it soon.
     
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