1. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    Should I be worried about this?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mark_Archibald, Jan 27, 2012.

    I have been working on my first novel for over a year now and its about halfway finished. In the past when I worked on my novel I wrote the material and polished it to a state that could be considered 'submittable' to a publisher/agent/whoever.

    Realizing that it would take me another year, possibly more, to finish the novel I have been powering my way through the chapters trying to make a rough draft of the story that can be read from beginning to end. Basically the first half took me one year to write, and I expect to write the second half in two months. There is a sharp contrast in quality from the first chapters, and the chapters I am writing now.

    I'm worried that if I continue down this path I will write myself into a corner and spend A LOT of time rewriting chapters over and over, when I should have taken the 'slow and steady wins the race' approach.

    Any advice?
     
  2. UrbanBanshee
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    UrbanBanshee Member

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    I wouldn't sacrifice quality to get your novel done. I'm an artist in my spare time and I know the feeling of reaching that half-way point and just wanting to be done. Problem is in the rush to be done in the end I'm not happy with what I end up with. From the sounds of it you already aren't happy with what you are rushing with. Is it the plot that you aren't happy with or the general writing?

    If it is just the writing, I'd say that just because you finally reach the end doesn't mean you are done. Rewriting can be just as involved as writing the rough draft. No matter how slow you take it now there will be the need to rewrite and revise your novel. Though sometimes with something like a story you may need to get it down on paper so you can clean it up and so you don't quit halfway through.

    If it is major problems with aspects of the plot, characters and dialogue I'd suggest slowing down and figure out what is wrong. Don't get hung up on worrying about how fast other authors get their books out, or feeling like you are taking too long. Pushing yourself forward is fine, but if you feel like you are rushing too much I'd listen to your gut.

    Good luck with your story :)
     
  3. Mark_Archibald
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    Mark_Archibald Active Member

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    I like the plot and I already know what direction the book is going to go and how it will end. The problem is that some of the scenes I've been writing are half baked and its obvious they are slopped together. They don't bring out emotions like the earlier chapters do.

    To be honest the writing I've been doing lately reads like a story told in point form. EXAMPLE: He went to the store, than he talked to Character2, than he went to the restaurant and had his credit card stolen, than he went back home, than he did this, than he did that.

    I know its boring, but when the rough draft is finished I plan to go back and supercharge these scenes so they have more impact. I wonder if I should just be writing stuff that's supercharged in the first place.

    That's the dilemma I'm stuck in.
     
  4. Kallithrix
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    Kallithrix Banned

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    I sometimes do this when I get writers block on a scene - I bullet point what needs to happen in it, write little notes about setting and imagery I want to convey, then I come back later when I'm feeling more inspired and start fleshing it out. I don't think you need to worry about it too much, as long as you're getting ideas for how to inject some life and passion into them later.
     
  5. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    What is it they say... 90% of writing is in the rewriting? Of course it's not a hard number but it's probably somewhat right. In order to make it, and make up for all those times when you don't feel truly inspired (they'll always be there, and more and more often, the longer you spend on one story), you gotta be disciplined and persistent. Disciplin is your life vest. I'm sure a lot of truly awesome stories have drowned due to lack of writing disciplin. So, I'd forget about this 2 months deadline - it seems entirely arbitrary based on wishful thinking, if it took you a year to finish the first half. Take the time it requires and inject yourself with some stubborness and patience.
     
  6. JackElliott
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    JackElliott Senior Member

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    Even by first draft standards that is awful.

    There has to be some happy medium between total lack of effort and laborious, borderline neurotic, self-editing.
     
  7. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    here is something youcould propably try.
    write brief short stories first and see what takes youafter that.
    That is what I do.
    I never commint myself to lenghty novels that I may or may not finish.
    My concentration span is at its best when I write shor and brief little stories.
    It is in a way a kind of an exercise . I call it sharpening the mind/imagination.
    Everything needs practice even the way you think and imagine.
     
  8. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're not happy with what you've written in this 'rush stage', stop doing that. I also edit as I go, and sometimes it takes *forever* to get a chapter done, sometimes it takes a few hours. Big deal. I'm happy with what I end up with. That's what counts, not how long it takes to get there (as long as you're not editing the thing to death :D).
     
  9. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    It's natural for you to pick up speed as you go, both because you are anxious to finish and because by the time you've reached the halfway point, you've worked out a lot of the details of the plot. But what grabbed my attention was your statement that there was a marked difference between the quality of the first few chapters and what you are writing now. I tend to sprint ahead when I'm trying to work out just how things are going to happen, knowing I will go back later. But the more sprinting now, the more extensive the rewrite will be later. There is no right/wrong answer here, you just need to understand how it's going to flow.

    In my current project, I'm writing a dystopian novel that is very different from anything I've done before. It's the only time I've ever started, gotten 30,000 words in, and then went back and started over because I hadn't started with a clear conception of what I wanted to do. I was still changing my mind on things halfway through, but then I hit that stretch where, like you, I really wanted to finish. When I finished the first draft, it was shorter than my first drafts tend to be, not a good sign (my rewrites usually entail much more subtraction than addition), so I knew that revision would be a bear. I usually put a project aside for a few weeks after completing the first draft but this time, because of some other factors (advocacy work I've been doing), it's been more like a few months. I'm about to launch back into it, but it is daunting knowing what lies ahead. So, you may want to calm it down in order to leave yourself more than just bare bones to flesh out later on, especially if that is the way you usually work.
     
  10. AmsterdamAssassin
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    AmsterdamAssassin Contributing Member

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    Rushing along to get everything 'on paper' is a good way to get your first 'rough draft'. A rough draft is not meant to be shown to others. After writing the rough draft, it's necessary to take some distance by letting it sit for a while [some books say six weeks] to become more objective. Best thing to do then is to do a read-through without editing, but noting/high-lighting problems - the half-baked scenes you mention for example - and use this list to work steadily at your MS until it reaches the polished stage you can show others/agents/editors.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    why not settle for something in between? Instead of writing in point form, why not write as you would have done earlier but leaving the polishing until the rest of it is finished? i don't know how you use to write, do you write a chapter, then revise to perfection, or just a page, or what?
     
  12. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    The risk of what you're doing is that you could suck all the passion out of your story, then not want to rewrite it because it's just so dry. If you don't think that will happen, and what you're doing is working, continue.
     

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