1. MartinWellow
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    MartinWellow Member

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    Multiple pass writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by MartinWellow, Aug 18, 2016.

    I'm finding that my writing seems to go like this:

    (not this precisely, but you get the idea)

    Pass 1 - basic, quick pass, clunky story
    Pass 2 - add character detailing
    Pass 3 - add period and location detailing
    Pass 4 - add weather, environmental detailing
    Pass 5 - pull things together
    Pass 6 - start editing

    Is that a common way of writing - starting basic then adding layers of detail one by one? Or it is a sign that I should be doing things differently?
     
  2. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is for me... different details in subsequent drafts, but yeah. Once everything else is in place, do you do one more pass for voice?
     
  3. MartinWellow
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    MartinWellow Member

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    I feel like I should say 'yes' to that - do you mean checking everything is POV correct - that you're not inside two heads at the same time or switching too much or not making it clear where you are or not showing thoughts for people outside the intended POV?
     
  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not exactly. I'm not sure how to explain it, but I'll try anyway...

    It's about consistent word choices (vocabulary, I suppose), but also idioms, metaphors and similes. It's how you express yourself compared to other authors (you'd never mistake a Stephen King for an Alan Dean Foster, for instance). It's how you smooth out the flow of each paragraph differently than someone else would.

    I'm not sure if I'm getting the idea across here. It's a bit of a nebulous thing, voice.
     
  5. MartinWellow
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    MartinWellow Member

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    Nope - I see exactly what you mean. I generally like a "voice" such as Douglas Coupland or The Alchemist's author - there's an easy-to-read yet hard-to-do simplicity in their "voices", as compared to other "voices".

    And most importantly - you can generally spot it just from a paragraph or so in isolation.
     
  6. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not how I write, but I don't think it's rare, exactly.

    (I tend to write a fairly complete first draft and then go back and make all of my tweaks at once. I just hate editing, so I try to do as little of it as possible!)
     
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  7. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting that you should cite him as an example.

    He was a couple of years ahead of me at Emily Carr College of Art and Design (Vancouver) and in 1986, he supervised an Expo '86 art project I worked on. It was so obvious to us all that he was more of a writer than anything else. He'd give us our instructions, then bugger off 'on other business for the project' but we all knew he was going home to write... all except the guy who was paying us.

    I've never liked the guy because of that, but I read an excerpt from one of his stories once and he does have a brilliant voice. He brought me to tears several times and this was just an excerpt! I like to think that by holding up his end during that summer job in 1986, I helped him find it. :)
     
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  8. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is my goal. Two drafts and out. (He says as he contemplates going back to work on his 8th. sigh)
     
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  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Now, stop being so damned interesting, you guys! I gotta go get some work done! (sigh... sigh)
     
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  10. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't even really think in terms of drafts - I don't save separate versions of the story or anything. And I tweak as I go, often, so if I were to try to separate versions out, there would be hundreds of them! I don't want to get bogged down in that! Just one MS that gets written and then fixed. Life is easier when it's simple.
     
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  11. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I started writing novels back when I was a dyed-in-the-wool computer nerd (although I didn't start wearing horn-rimmed glasses until much, much later) and that being the case, I knew the power of back-ups and versioning (very important while coding-testing-recoding) and it just crept into my thinking while writing. I'd get to the end of a writing session and back it up. But then I found that sometimes I wanted to go back to a specific day's writing to find a particular passage that had since been rewritten out of existence. So, I started dating each days' work.

    So, yeah, I've ended up with hundreds of files (my WIP currently has 265 'versions' and I expect at least 30 more before I'm finished), but with storage space so cheap these days, I back up my back-ups and then back those up, too... and email them to myself once per week, just to be on the safe side. (not getting carried away, am I? ;) )
     
  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Holy smokes.

    Are you actually able to find what you're looking for in all those files?

    I sometimes open a second file for stuff I've cut out that I might want to use again, and I usually keep a pre-beta version and a pre-edits version (although I could retrieve both of those from e-mail if I wanted, so maybe they're not necessary either!). But even that is too cluttered for my comfort level. I can't imagine having hundreds of versions!
     
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  13. Sack-a-Doo!
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    :) Yes, but it takes a system of folders to help keep them all straight (draft 001, draft 002, etc). Also, each filename has the date tacked onto the end in year-month-day format so everything's always automatically in order.

    That, plus my most-of-the-time incredible memory means I can put my hands on the right file within half an hour... most of the time. The rest of the time, I resort to a search utility like Agent Ransack and just search-within-file(s) for a phrase... which my most-of-the-time incredible memory sometimes gets wrong.

    I'm just making sure I'm ready for the possibility of someday becoming a famous author who later generations will study. They'll have to study my work in teams because there'll be so much crap to wade through. ;)
     
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  14. IcyEthics
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    It's very different from how I write, but I can imagine it's a handy way to go about it. It allows for more focus on certain parts of the story, if you layer it in that way.
     

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