1. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    On the road to a finished manuscript

    Discussion in 'Progress Journals' started by kateamedeo, Jan 2, 2016.

    I am already keeping track of the way things are going with 'Schizophrenia' on my blog but as I have joined your wonderful community, I have decided to keep a progress journal here as well! :)

    At the moment I am working on a re-write of my first book, the goal is to have a finished manuscript by April.

    It's a novel (I guess, but still not sure how long the final draft will be), the title is 'Schizophrenia'. It is a psychological thriller/horror piece. Here's the short synopsis:

    After his life has lost all meaning, James receives a letter from the asylum. ‘…regret to inform you about the death of your brother…’ On his way to the small town of Rivers Creek James is haunted by the demons of the past. Was Patrick truly insane or was he trying to protect him from real danger?

    This is my first journal entry, so I will sum up where I got up until now.

    I have created a cover, a book trailer and, most importantly, I have my first draft sitting on my desk. I have re-written the first two scenes and in total that makes up 4.845 words of the final draft.

    I also started a pre-ordering campaign on Inkshares, the goal is unreachable, I know (500 copies...). But it helps me set a deadline for myself.

    I will keep posting about any new developments. For now, I am planning on publishing the third scene on my blog. Was hoping to do it this weekend, still have a whole day tomorrow, so will try and do that :)
     
  2. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Yesterday I finished the second part of the 3rd scene for Schizophrenia, now the English draft is 6.420 words! (Which is twice as bigger than the original in Russian :) ) The first chapter is ready, waiting to be re-read and edited.

    Plan for today - write at least 1000 words on the 4th scene.
     
  3. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    The mission for today is accomplished, another 1.003 words added to the manuscript! In total 7.423 words!

    I decided to break the previous scene in two as it was too long and it just made sense. That makes the first chapter complete, 4 scenes in total.

    Today I worked on the 5th scene, the beginning of the second chapter. The first part of it in Russian was 448 words, somehow in English it got to 1.003 :)

    Plan for tomorrow - to add another 1.000 words and to finish the scene.
     
  4. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Today's word count is 1.133! It takes the draft to 9.569 words, almost 10.000! :)

    To be honest, I didn't think I'd write anything today, maybe just another 300 words and then just call it a day. But, hey, got to where I should be, even though right now the whole thing feels like a big pile of cr..ackers.

    Re-write... That's what I hope will save it and what I dread the most (the horrible feeling before you start editing when you feel like everything you are about to read is not even 'no good', it's worse than that).
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I like editing, myself. Because every time I make it better, well, it's better. :p
     
  6. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, maybe you can help me understand something here. I am almost 60,000 words into my own WIP, with the finish line drawing closer (planned for 80,000). But with regard to editing I do not understand how such things can happen, that one has to rewrite each and every scene. That would mean in essence rewriting the damn thing, right? And not only once, but twice, as pretty much everyone talks about 2rev or even 3rev.
    Now I go back every other day to look at previously written scenes, even if only to provide consistency. And then I correct, larger and smaller inconsistencies or word choices, include sometimes scenes way way back in the storyline because I noticed that something was missing here. Or I cull ruthlessly. Or I write in comments of my Beta.

    Maybe I am being insufferable cocky or delusional, but I would hope that after all this painstaking work at least some scenes would not need much editing, even if I let the WIP sit for a while before starting in again.

    Am I cocky? Or delusional? Do I overlook some vital piece here? :eek:
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  7. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Well, I don't think you're either. As for me, I hate what I write when I write it. After I give it another look, usually it turns out to be not so bad :D but it always can do with some tweaking. Sometimes I get some details in during the editing which I had no idea were supposed to be there while I was writing the scene.

    What I am doing now is re-writing the whole thing in English, as I had the first draft in Russian. And I know that when I write the 'first' draft I can write it bad because then I will meticulously edit every line. This lets me write every day without getting stuck because I get depressed on how horrible my first draft is; making the inner editor shut up, so to speak.
     
  8. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Okay, then we seem to go completely different paths :)

    You write without caring if what you write is in good style because it will let you get farther ahead. You can do this because you know that you will rewrite everything, because the first attempt almost never comes out satisfyingly (and I hope that does not come out derailingly, it is not meant to be. 10 years back I wrote exactly the same way).
    In contrast I care about every word I write. The first attempt at a scene is almost never completely satisfying for me too, but it will get corrected (mostly only minor corrections) at the next day or latest the day after. Then I will be (baring deeper reflections which happen on and off :D) satisfied.

    Anyway I think you are pretty determined to translate your whole work into english, wow! That is sure caring! :)
     
  9. Rob Rowntree
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    Rob Rowntree Member

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    I bet if you left your ms for a month or two and then re read, you'd find plenty to tinker with. I remember talking with a 'big name' sf author and he told me he often edits four or five times. Geoffrey Archer has been known to edit/rewrite 20 times. There's always something you can find. It's true though, that at some point you have to say it's done.
     
  10. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    I am not saying that there will be plenty to correct, there ever is ;)
    I am talking about rewriting, which to me is a different scale entirely :twisted:
     
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd think it would be pretty rare to completely re-write a manuscript. I'm not saying it's never done, but... surely not very often.

    A lot of the people on this message board are working on their first novels. A first novel is often written when the writer's learning curve is still at a very steep point - by the time they get to the end of the book, they're much higher up on the leaning curve and are no longer satisfied with how they were writing when they wrote the first part of the novel. So for many beginning writers, a novel may be rewritten completely because it's a learning project.

    For writers who are farther along the learning curve, it may be necessary to make only little tweaks to earlier scenes.

    For writers who edit as they go instead of belching out a huge unfiltered blob, it may be necessary to only make small changes.

    For some writers, most of the writing is re-writing. For others, it's much different.

    In general, don't write according to what others are doing, write according to what you're doing. If you can't think of ways to improve your book, don't rewrite it just because somebody else thinks that's how books are written.
     
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  12. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Hey, good point about the learning curve! :)

    Certainly I am a beginner writer and I also have noticed that a lot of people here are just as wet behind the ears as I am. Every other day I learn something new (ie line breaks *sigh*) and have to go back to correct it throughout my WIP.

    And I certainly will not go back and edit when I think my words convey what I want to tell. But that is a question for my Alpha and Beta to tell me which parts do not fly.
    Thanks for the comment, it was really appreciated! :)
     
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  13. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Some scenes will not require a major, or even minor, re-write. But some may require a major one, and some may even need to be cut altogether. Or swapped in terms of chronological order. Or swapped in terms of POV. Tone may need to be adjusted, in that it might have shifted as your story developed. If you started in lighthearted mode and then realised your story was more serious than you originally thought, then you'll probably need to account for this change in your earlier chapters.

    Of course how much editing you do often boils down to the kind of writer you are, and how much experience you've had. But I wouldn't fear the process of reshaping your work, or think re-writing means wasted time and effort. It just means you're turning a flawed piece into a more worthy one.

    I can't think of anything more devastating to a writer than rushing to self publication, getting it up on Amazon ...and THEN seeing grammatical mistakes, bad punctuation, major plot holes or clumsy dialogue exchanges and large swathes of writing that shouldn't be there at all. Or discovering that what you initially thought were incredibly clever and inspired passages are...not. Of course if you're going for traditional publication with a substandard work, you won't ever have that problem, because you won't get past the first couple of hurdles.

    I think people need to get over the notion that writing and editing are separate things. They're not—unless you are a particular writer genius who never does anything wrong.

    And people who pride themselves on editing as they go? Well they ARE editing. They're throwing away stuff and changing sentences and cutting stuff and rearranging stuff. It's just that they're doing it as they go—and perhaps too soon, as they won't see the total picture of what they've created till they reach the end. This works for some, but not all. It's important to realise that just because you've edited as you 'went,' that doesn't mean the end result will be perfect. It's that old can't see the forest for all the trees syndrome. You may need to focus more strongly on certain elements in your story and eliminate others. Editing to perfection as you go can produce tangents (perfectly written!) that can clog up your final story.

    You should feel great pride that you've finished a first draft, of course. You've seen the process through to the end of the first stage (which many never do.) But writers who think that's the end of it rarely succeed as published writers. Just read the reams and reams of interviews with real writers, if you don't believe me. Editing is part of the process.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  14. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    Preaching to the cathedral :) As I said, I am giving myself time and certainly enough space. I can and do learn :rolleyes:

    Yes I understand. I can't look now at my diploma thesis without trying to hide somewhere. That was due to being rushed as the deadline was approaching, and no, it was not bad and it was not substandard, but with knowing what I know now there could have been a world of difference *sigh*

    But with writing a novel I certainly won't have that trouble. I can and will give myself plenty of time, and a professional editor to make sure THAT nightmare won't happen again!

    Huh, no I am not such a one :twisted:

    *sigh* but it seems to be just the way I write. Your concerns are duly noted and I will keep them in mind! Another caution to keep in mind :D
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  15. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, there is absolutely nothing wrong with editing as you write. Nothing at all. I think we all do that to some extent. The problem comes only when the work is 'done' and the writer feels it's unnecessary to do a further edit BECAUSE they've been editing as they go. It might be that nothing needs to be changed, but it's always a good idea to give yourself a break, then read the whole thing again with fresh eyes. Then don't resist making changes you discover need to be made. You'll regret it if you do.

    Then give it to some betas, and see if what you've written has made the impact you intended. If you discover that it hasn't ...that the readers point out issues you KNOW still need worked on ...then it's back to the old drawing board.
     
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  16. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    And looking at all this good advice out here in WF, or in blogs, a lot of writers tell about getting a break from your WIP before starting on the edit, and if they are driven writers they will just start with another new WIP during that time. Of course, for that you need ideas, and be real driven :D

    But this seems the way for me to go (and the next idea sits hazily in my backbrain) and will serve to give me plenty of distance. Also my Alpha/Beta will have time to go over it in a concise way, not this peacemeal digestion they get now. All to the good :)

    Sorry @kateamedeo for coopting your thread, went a way offtopic..
     
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  17. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    This turned out to be a real discussion :p

    I think that everyone does what suits them (and the particular piece they are working on). I love reading and watching interviews with other writers about their 'creative process' and usually end up picking up some tips and using some methods myself. This is why I joined this forum, to get new ideas, a new perspective on things :) It's always great to learn new things.

    I've just finished a short story. It's called 'Until Dawn' (nothing in common with the game), it's about a couple that gets stranded in a snowstorm, final result - just above 5.000 words.

    The process:
    1. finding an idea (saw the thing that inspired me on the news the other day)
    2. brainstorming (love my mind maps and questions (I call it 'freewriting' - ask an open-ended question and write the answer; usually leads to another question or another aspect of the sotry)
    3. sketching the scenes (just a sentence or two of what was happening in the scene to keep on track as I write it)
    4. write, write like mad to get the first draft on the paper :D
    5. print it out and edit
    6. 'fixing' the manuscript, using the notes of step 5
    7. re-reading the whole thing
    8. converting the text into voice and listening to the story without seeing the text, taking notes
    9. tweaking the last bits based on the notes of the step 8

    Also, haven't done anything with Schizophrenia these days, was working hard on Until Dawn and then ended up in the hospital (not related to writing :D ). So today will continue the work on my novel.
     
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  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    What programme do you use to convert into voice? I've tried a few, but they sound very robotic. Mind you, if you can make a story sound good when a robot reads it out loud, you're probably a fine writer!
     
  19. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    I use www.fromtexttospeech.com, the voice of George is the one I usually use :)
     
  20. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    On my mac there is an inbuilt voice. Mind you, it is robotic too but I don't mind :)
     
  21. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Reached 10.603 words today.

    Haven’t been working on Schizophrenia for a couple of days, mainly because of ‘Until Dawn’, and then yesterday I had a really bad day health wise so did nothing.

    It was a bit tough getting those words down on paper today. Not the whole writing process, no, the enthusiasm to write this particular story had dwindled a bit. I think it’s because I got all excited about the short story. But, anyways, I managed to get my 1.000 words written so the work is going ahead.

    Also, I am thinking about another short story. A post-apocalyptic piece. I’m thinking about the sketch I wrote earlier, the Final Destination one. Spent an hour brainstorming today. Will see if that one works out.

    But for now, back to writing Schizophrenia!
     
  22. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just read an article by Brian Klems, the blogger guy from Writers' Digest. He was discussing this very topic—how to finish a novel—and made an excellent point:

    First drafts are for getting the stories out of your head and onto paper.

    He maintains that subsequent drafts are for organising the story, dumping stuff that doesn't fit, adding stuff you need to tie it all together, removing clunky language, adding 'poetry,' beefing up or paring down dialogue, sorting grammatical issues, etc. But the first draft is for getting your story out of your head and on to paper. That's the only thing you should be worrying about as you write a story the first time. Just get it down, however you see and feel it. Outlining is fine, but don't dwell on the actual mechanics of the writing or fight your outline if things take a different turn. Just get it out there.

    He made the point that it's very hard to discard a 'beautiful' bit of writing if it turns out not to be needed after all. I'm sure we've all struggled with dumping a favourite scene, or favourite character or favourite idea. This becomes less difficult to do if you haven't wasted a lot of time on it in the first place. It's the flow of the whole story that counts while you're editing, not keeping the 'beautiful bits.'
     
  23. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    Just finished writing, 2.139 words, that makes it 12.742 words in total. Can't get back into my 'involved' state, just writing it ahead like 'yeah, I know, gotta write...'

    Hope later on I'll get back into my Schizophrenia mood. Will try to edit the fourth scene this weekend and see if that re-kindles my love affair with this novel.
     
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  24. kateamedeo
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    kateamedeo Active Member

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    The first 15.000 words of the 1st draft are written!

    Having skipped two scenes, one a flashback and the other one of memories, I am at the scene numero 13, which takes me to the chapter number… (drum roll) 5!
     
  25. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Keep pressing onward! :)
     
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