1. theSkaBoss
    Offline

    theSkaBoss Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2010
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3

    Revision temptation

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by theSkaBoss, Jun 30, 2010.

    I was taking a look at my story today and I realized that I'd just barely managed to get to that magical point where the story takes off. I was out of the dregs of the beginning. Not that I felt my beginning couldn't hook readers, but the conflict was just now beginning to catch some real fire, the plot was beginning to accelerate, etc.

    My point is, Bilbo has left Bag-End. Harry is off to Hogwarts. Arthur Dent is on the Heart of Gold.

    So why am I bothering to post this? I looked at my word count... 22500!

    What do I do? I'm over a fifth of the way through my target word count, and all I've done is set the stage. My nature is telling me to go back now and chop it immediately. On the other hand, I always get so caught up in fixing things early on that I never finish my projects. Should I just keep going for now and put it on the chopping block on my rewrite, or should I fix it sooner so that I can maintain focus on my word count target?
     
  2. izanobu
    Offline

    izanobu Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2010
    Messages:
    149
    Likes Received:
    0
    Finish it, then see if you need to cut. That's my vote :)
     
  3. Speedy
    Offline

    Speedy Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2008
    Messages:
    4,866
    Likes Received:
    81
    Location:
    Australia
    if you are enjoying your actual story, forge on and forget about the word count for now. Just write the damm thing and worry about that for major edits afterwards.


    It's easy to never complete such easy tasks like writing a novel when you're more busy fixing things, than completing things.
     
  4. TerraIncognita
    Offline

    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

    Joined:
    May 28, 2010
    Messages:
    1,339
    Likes Received:
    40
    Location:
    Texas
    You just answered your own question! :p Don't go back. Finish it then go back. It doesn't have to be perfectly done until it is finished. So don't worry about at this point. Don't doubt your ability to write and get caught up in all the parts you don't like. Plow through and finish it. Then go back and polish it up.
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ditto all of that!

    besides which, you won't really know what to cut or where it's best to start, till you've gotten to the end of the thing...
     
  6. BUDDY GORGEOUS
    Offline

    BUDDY GORGEOUS Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2009
    Messages:
    235
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    Alaska
    Yeah, like the others have said, the best course of action is to just keep on writing and then, when you've finished, chop and edit. If you started now and kept on writing you may realise what you've edited may have been vital to the plot. So keep on writing matey.
     
  7. Nobeler Than Lettuce
    Offline

    Nobeler Than Lettuce Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Anytown USA
    Write it, just like everyone else has said, then edit it later.

    I mean, that's not what you should do, it's just a matter of personal choice. I find that when I edit a chapter of a story the next chapter of the story has me in the mindset of not making the errors that I covered over before, which is good. But of course, when you finish, the whole story will need going over and tightening, which takes me anywhere from two weeks to a month or more. And of course, once you're done editing you'll begin to edit the edit and you could do that until the cows come home.

    While your excited you should continue to write. That dude in my avatar completed "Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72" in just two weeks. Really shows what you can do when you push yourself and love what you're writing about. (Or what you can do if you use a massive amount of stimulants.)
     
  8. Pallas
    Offline

    Pallas Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2009
    Messages:
    1,172
    Likes Received:
    36
    Location:
    New York
    You will probably have to re-edit the beginning to match the evolution of characters and story details in the latter parts, I know I have to, so best to finish the entire story first.
     
  9. EdFromNY
    Offline

    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2010
    Messages:
    4,683
    Likes Received:
    2,534
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    One of my all time favorite writers is James A. Michener, whose novels were, for the most part, quite long. He was once approached to write a short piece, and was asked to limit it to 5,000 words. His response: "I can't describe a sunrise in as little as 5,000 words; I'll write what I write, and you edit it however much you have to edit."

    Naturally, he was well-established when he said this, and it is not an attitude that a beginning writer could hope to take. But it does point up the basic truth that a lot of others have already posted: write it all first, edit later.

    I feel the same way about word count as I do about pitch count in baseball - a marginally relevant statistic that should be used far more sparingly than it is.
     
  10. tashaa-jayy
    Offline

    tashaa-jayy Member

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    see, in my opinion i think you should finish your story.
    you sound like you know what you want to do its the fact that you don't know if you should do it or not, go ahead nothing bad can come from this.
    You may not even need to chop anything out of it if it all comes together, at the moment i think that you are stressing to much over nothing.

    good luck with your story
     
  11. Elgaisma
    Offline

    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2010
    Messages:
    5,337
    Likes Received:
    92
    Go with your gut, personally I restart and delete to include new ideas, it avoids the patched effect you get in some books. I have always been glad when I have deleted thousands of words (sometimes around 30,000 of my 45,000 novel lol), the story improves every time I do it.

    A lot depends on how fast you work for me 20,000 words can be rewritten in a couple of days without kids. So it is worth doing. Also you now know your story your work will be faster.
     
  12. Thanshin
    Offline

    Thanshin Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2010
    Messages:
    564
    Likes Received:
    13
    Location:
    Spain
    You should finish and then go back.

    However, there are two situations in which I recommend going back to edit:

    A - You're going to present a fragment for style review or suggestions. There's no point on getting suggestions for anything but your best work.

    B - You hit a blank wall and, for whatever reason, can't continue. In those cases I find that going back to review helps me.
     
  13. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    Your first draft obviously won't be perfect. There's so many different ways and directions to write any story. If you finish it before revising, I would think it's a safe bet that it may look different in, say, one year, after you've really gone through it and edited it and fixed it and rewritten and etc. Therefore, I would finish it, because finishing the first draft is just the beginning. Good luck!
     
  14. stubeard
    Offline

    stubeard Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2010
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    theskaboss

    Are you me??

    I've just done the exact same thing - written far too much for the beginning, although I wrote 29,000 words. I've since realised I was trying to write two stories at once, so I had twice as much to introduce (which was due to the fact I wrote an initial narrative and tried to shoe-horn a new main character, bringing with him all his baggage). The second half would either have made the book too long or finished too quickly.

    I personally love a good, long start, really taking the time to get to know the characters before putting them into the drama - this comes with my love of "showing" all the characters' traits in situations and not "telling" anything at all. Then again, some starts are just too slow - Tad Williams 'Memory, Sorrow and Thorn' trilogy is a good example - you don't find out who the baddies are until after page 600!!!

    However, it's not so much what I think - it's what your readers think. The point is - if you're writing for yourself, then carry on. If you're writing for a target audience or publication - look at the pacing of other stories in your genre - when does "Bilbo" leave "Bag End" in those books? I'm writing for adventure-loving teenagers so I can't be spending too long getting to know the characters, much as I'd love to. I also have to do more "telling" than my natural instincts would like.

    The other point is: how much time do you have to write it? If you've got all the time in the world, just carry on from where you are now, and then go back and edit it if you need to. If you're pressed for time, it might be worth editing it now. That's my problem - so I'm starting again, rather than potentially wasting the next few weeks.
     
  15. Shinn
    Offline

    Shinn Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    925
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I regularly go over my work and see how it flows and will leave it until I've finished to edit and sometimes I only need to change a tiny part of the story.
     
  16. KittyGoesRawr
    Offline

    KittyGoesRawr Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2010
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    A little to the left.
    Finish THEN edit.
     

Share This Page