1. JPLayne
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    JPLayne Member

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    Is it okay to revise in the middle of a project.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by JPLayne, Mar 29, 2011.

    I am writing a science fiction book geared toward the young adult audience. I am quite a ways into it (around one hundred pages) and am getting a bit bogged down in the world I've created. I've normally waited to do revisions on writing once I'm completely finished but am really tempted to start revising to check on my continuity and make sure things are flowing out the way I want them to. Is it alright to begin revision in the middle of a project and return to writing when I finish or should I keep writing and wait until I am finished to begin revision.

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Your answer is right there in your problem.

    Whenever you feel bogged down from the piece, stop writing and use this impasse for revision.
    You have reached peak marginal quality output in the writing for that period, and any forced writing you attempt will be of relatively lower quality.

    Use this writing 'down time' for revision --which is a different kind of mental activity.

    Your mental-writing energy will be renewed after a period of 'rest (maybe one day ... two?).
    Then you can resume the writing process until you feel bogged down again.

    In other words, there's nothing wrong with doing revisions in the middle of projects.
    It could actually be more healthy for the final quality of your work.

    Good luck.


    --------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  3. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You should do what works well for you. Everyone's different. Some people like to finish the whole thing and then go back and revise. Others like to revise as they go along. So your way of doing things is perfectly fine, as long as you feel that you're getting good results.
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If your ass was here, I'd kick it.

    This is your project. Why are you coming here to ask if it's okay to revise? If you want to revise, REVISE!! Don't ask permission. Don't ask if it's "alright". You are the one in charge of your own work. Just do whatever is necessary to get it finished. If that means revising now, then revise now. If it means forging ahead, forge ahead.

    Take charge of your own story and get it done! Don't ask whether it's okay to revise at this point! Do what gets the story written!
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I personally find that going back to revise trips me up really, really bad. I'm good with SPaG, so the thing that causes me to go back and revise is plot holes, character development issues etc.

    This sort of revision causes me to write backward, if you know what I mean..like the stuff later in the novel will contradict the new stuff I add in revisions...then it gets way too confusing and I have to just rewrite the entire damn thing.

    If you're talking about just redoing a scene to improve tone, quality etc then that's different and I don't see danger in that.
     
  6. Thanshin
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    Thanshin Active Member

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    Some people finish the entire story, then leave it to rest for a while and only then review.

    Some people finish the sentence, review it, discover it's not that sentence that's wrong but the preceding one, review both together, change the first, write a third to evaluate the ensemble and then start to cry.


    All that matters is the final quality. Nobody cares whether you sing-along as you write or use a white font to avoid reading what you just wrote (I do that).

    If your problem is that you don't know what would give you the best results. I suggest trying everything you can think of and then reviewing your results with each method six months later. If you write your best while humming justin bieber's greatest hits, by all means do so. And find an insonorisation solution.
     
  7. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    It depends on how many changes you might want to make, or how willing you are to switch things around and the like. In one of my projects, I suddenly decided to switch from first person POV to third person POV midway, but I didn't bother to change everything in the beginning, because it would have just been a waste of time. I decided it was better to simply finish the entire story first and get the bare skeleton of it down before making such a drastic change.

    However, again, it depends on what you think your story needs at the moment.

    And ultimately, as everybody's been saying, it's up to YOU to decide whether your story needs it or not, and whether it'll help you a lot or only help you a bit and then become a hindrance. It's your choice.
     
  8. The-Joker
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    The-Joker Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's okay but not recommended. The potential for a finished first draft to become a finished publishable manuscript is much higher than the potential for a half finished manuscript (no matter how well revised) to become a completed manuscript. If you submit to the urge of revision everytime you feel lazy to write something new, you're putting needless obstacles in your path.

    The purpose of the first draft is to pave a detailed plot, however imbalanced it may be. Once you have this perspective, this all encompassing view of your finished story, can you truly start revising.

    So these early attempts at revision may benefit the manuscript, but could end up being a wasted effort, because you'll have to go back anyway, and your newfound "completed plot perspective" may end up changing everything regardless.

    Rather spend the time thinking up new details for scenes you still have to write. More effort-- greater reward.
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never go back to revise but it may work for you - sometimes I will however go back to the beginning and restart.
     
  10. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I wouldn't start revising, but you could go through and do a quick review of what you've got so far. Maybe that will help steer you towards where you're going with the rest of the story.
     
  11. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I'm constantly going to earlier parts of the work and tweaking things. Two characters are having a conversation, and I suddenly need for something to have been said or not said in a conversation that happened 8 chunks ago, so I make the change before moving on.

    And you might be bogged down because you set something up that really shouldn't have been set up. Or you might need to add a Checkov's gun somewhere.
     
  12. SeverinR
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    SeverinR Contributing Member

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    Thats true. If you revise, you have to revise completely. Go through the whole book to make sure the change you did in chapter 2 doesn't contradict something small in chaper 8. Some changes, ecspecially clarifying a personality won't usually alter something later, unless its a change in personality.

    Usually if I don't feel the story moving forward, I go back to the start and edit or revise. I continue through until that layer of change is complete. Like painting a wall. You put a second coat on the parts you have done completely then move on.

    Revisions can help strengthen a problem in the story, that is weak. If you build on the weak area, it would have to be changed later anyway, wasting the work that will have to be changed anyway.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is similar to how work - I will delete back as far as I need to go and rewrite until it is working right. It is a similar idea each time a new layer is added and it works the threads together better.

    I kind of look at it as like knitting a sweater or making a quilt, yes you can patch or work in faults but it is often quicker and more effective to unpick and start again.
     
  14. barnz
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    barnz Member

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    With my first novel, I stopped to revise after the first third was finished in order to revise. I felt a little overwhelmed with the world and characters, and rearranged the plot points and shuffled characters around, etc., but I wouldn't recommend this! I think my work would have been stronger as a whole if i had finished writing and then gone back after words. Just fix it in post, once you have everything out of your head and onto the page!
     
  15. Louis Farizee
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    Louis Farizee Member

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    Could be worse. You could decide you need to revise after your project has been published.
     
  16. Mxxpower
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    Mxxpower Member

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    lin:confused:
     
  17. Mxxpower
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    Mxxpower Member

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    lincatwinjohn
     
  18. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    Anything of any size is more like a marriage than dating. a character's growth and/or decline, a plot twist that springs up while writing chapters h,j and k often has impact on chapters a,b and c. .....returning to revise for that reason causes a domino effect.....your best bet is to solider forward and log the ideas you hope to feather in the next time you type, "once upon a time ............"
     
  19. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    Sure its ok. They you might even think up better ideas and make the novel more interesting.
     
  20. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    Hi, I did that and I decide I didn’t like any of my story, so I done it all over again. Which I am happy with. But I think, whatever you think is best for you, I would do. If you just stuck on that little bit, why don’t you just read the chapter in which you are doing, maybe that will get some sparks flying. Or maybe taken a step back, having a little break from it.
    Good luck with it:)
     
  21. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    anything's ok that works for you... there are no rules about such things...
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    If you know you're going to make major changes, why continue to build upon the original foundation?

    On the other hand, if the story is not changing in a huge way, you risk losing momentum if you go back and start editing partway through.

    Know yourself, and what works best for you. If you don't know yourself that well yet, choose randomly and see how your choice works for you.
     
  23. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I just thought of something else you might want to consider... ret-con notes. Don't go back and re-write something previous, but scribble a note. It could be s simple as "instead of stealing the car, they rent one."
     
  24. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    I find that, usually when I'm bogged down, that's exactly when I need to revise, or at least look over the work. I find my problem here is because I can't remember what's going on, so writing ahead usually introduces errors. This is always what happens when I have to, for whatever reason, put a project down for a little while.

    Besides that, what's the problem with revising at any time? Every writer has a different system, and I'm sure tons of published and successful authors do mid-project revisions at least sometimes. Some authors, me included, even look over the previous few pages whenever we start a new session just to get back into the flow of the work.
     
  25. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    The thought is that revising at any time could lead to a work never being finished due to endless revision. This isn't cut in stone, but for many people, completing a rough draft before revising works best. My thought is that if your foundation is so off-base that you need to revise before the entire work is finished, maybe the whole project should be scrapped. But then again, maybe not.

    On a side note, it would be kind of cool to get together a list of writing rules that are absolutely cast in stone. Rules that you never, ever want to violate.
     

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