1. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    The way you edit and modify your story?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Mans, Oct 4, 2015.

    1- After you wrote a part of a story as the first draft, you would begin editing the part ( or chapter) before continuing with the rest of the story

    2- You write the story completely as a draft, and then begin editing it wholly.
     
  2. Elena Schmetterling
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    Elena Schmetterling Member

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    I think most people do a bit of both... It helps you to keep a clear view of your story while maintaining good progress, knowing that it won't be perfect in the end anyway and will still need general editing.
     
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  3. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Short stories I tend to edit more as I go. But for novels I usually like to get the first draft out knowing I will have to deal with plot holes, repetition and neglected themes. It's too hard to tweak those things.
     
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  4. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Like Elena said, I do a bit of both. I often start each day by reading part of what's already done, and if I notice problems I will edit them. Sometimes I know a section isn't right but I carry on writing, then I will have a brainwave and go back to fix it before carrying on.

    But the more I've trained myself out of editing-as-I-go, the better the process has been for me. For my next novel I'm going to write a strong outline plan and try to produce an entire draft before I start editing.
     
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  5. rainy_summerday
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    rainy_summerday Active Member

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    Me, too. I edit each chapter once it is complete, and once the project is finished, there is another round of editing. The first editing process is about erasing easy to fix mistakes like sentence structure, accidental shifts in POV, rephrasing, redundancies. But I am careful not to go back to already edited chapters while I am still in the writing process. Otherwise it is very easy to become stuck.
     
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  6. dreamca7cher
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    dreamca7cher New Member

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    I agree with this. I hand write the first draft just to get everything out, then I do all the editing as I'm typing it. It gives you a better perspective and makes it easier because you know where to take things from start to finish.
     
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  7. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am doing a very long WIP, and I find the mindset of writing and editing to be incompatible. Writing is an exercise in creativity, let the words flow, let the characters take off. Trust yourself that this will all come out in the end as a reasonably coherent tale. That is not to say that I don't do some editing while I am writing, generally as I finish each paragraph, check spelling, grammar, make sure the right person is speaking, etc. And at the end of each chapter one more overall sanity check... My wife usually contributes this.

    Every once in a while, about two chapters out of 80, I decided that the whole basic flow for one of my characters was wrong in that scene. I had made something that should have been almost impossible for a 1st century woman ridiculous easy... She had to work much harder, not least against her husband, to get to where I wanted her to be... correction, where SHE wanted to be, because she was the one telling the story, not me. And I wrote and rewrote that chapter about 3 times, till she let me know I had it right.

    But don't bog down in editing details while you are telling the story for the first time, because you may get discouraged and never finish.

    The process of editing, the hard editing that needs to be done after the first draft, is how much of this needs to stay, how much needs to go, and then the fine polish, all of that is by its nature critical of the work you have done, which is why you should finish the WIP first!
     
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  8. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    My first novel, a super duper cliché medieval-ish fantasy thing, is a train wreck. I started it in 8th grade (I think) and as I grew up, so did the plot, but instead of going back to edit anything I just kept writing the new ideas as they came. Eventually I settled on a plot I liked, and only then was I able to have a stab at really editing.

    Oh god.

    It's such a nightmare. I edit it in pieces, random scenes here and there, whatever I can salvage and tie in to the new plot, rather than trying to "start at the beginning" or "fix chapter 10."

    *ahem* o_O

    I'm taking a more organized, disciplined approach to the vampire shtick now. I only started it a couple weeks ago, and so far there aren't any disaster areas. One chapter at a time, writing chronologically as best I can. The process now is brainstorm, bullet points, fill it in.

    If I get a really vivid idea for a scene that should happen later in the story, I'll write it out with a note LATER ON attached, just so I don't lose the mojo.

    So far the temptation to obsess on those future scenes hasn't struck. I have to edit chronologically so you guys can critique, anyway! :-D
     
  9. Daemon Wolf
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    Daemon Wolf Active Member

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    I generally finish 6 chapters than go back and fix what needs to be fixed.
     
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  10. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    2.
    Although I do change minor issues like typos and a sentence here and there along the way. I don't call that editing though, not in that phase. I just call it changing what I just wrote for something better :D It's a part of writing the first draft.
     
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  11. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am doing the second edit of my 1st Century fiction, which begins a deep dive into how the story is structured. A few examples:
    1. I have a heroine, who begins the story as the battered concubine of a part of the Hanaean delegation to Rome. She ends up as a powerful, self-confident fighting woman, married to the Roman centurion while "on the run" out of China back to Rome. She has to begin the story as much more reticent than I originally portrayed her ( I didn't know she was a battered woman when I first introduced her). But her inner strength has to show through from the beginning, so her development becomes a natural process. Also have to address why she is on one ship, while her abusive consort is on the other.
    2. The centurion has taken on duties of training a cadre of sailors as self-protection force. This was originally described as a narrative paragraph when they first get underway transiting down the Red Sea. Then when he resumed their training after the hijacking in the Indian Ocean, I wrote detailed action paragraphs on how he gained the attention of surly and unresponsive sailors. These were clearly reversed, and when I get to it, I need to explain why his deck protection force was unable to prevent the hijacking.

    It is this type of sequence and interaction that needs to be tweaked during the deep dive edit.
     
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  12. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    I've developed a new skill for edit-while-I-go. Wanna know what it is? Too bad, I'ma tell you guys anyway.

    A lot of the time I'll be writing and I'll come to a sentence which just needs "more" and it hangs me up. What I used to do was just sit there, agonizing on what could possibly be the other half of my thought, but recently I've been forcing myself to continue. Just, put a period there and move on.

    Surprisingly, my hanging thought is usually content to just evaporate away, and I end up with what feels like more concise prose.

    o_O

    Just thought I'd share, in case anyone was having the same problem. :whistle:
     
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  13. Morgan Stelbas
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    Morgan Stelbas Active Member

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    For me, my editing process depends on whether or not I have an outline. If I made an outline then I already know where the story is going and I will go back and edit whatever I wrote the previous day, so if that's two chapters, or ten, I'll go back and edit them. It doesn't interfere with my flow because I already know where I'm going, and just want to make sure I've kept on the right path to get there (that I haven't strayed from the outline).
    Also, I find I am more efficient at editing if I do it on a different day then my writing. Sometimes I'll be in a bad mood and my characters sound snippy when they shouldn't, and I can fix that on the different day when my attitude has improved.

    However, if I don't have an outline, and while writing, I want to change my mind about a paragraph I just wrote, or a chapter, instead of deleting it, I put it aside into a different file - labelling it under the chapter and page number it fell on, and then re-write what I want. When I've completed the story, I go through the story and if I find everything works well, I delete those extra files. But sometimes I have found that I wanted a piece of what I got rid of back and instead of trying to remember it, I just look it up in my alternate edited files.

    Maybe my way of editing is strange, but I have no formal training, so I just made it up as I went, lol!
     
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  14. Lew
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    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Done the same thing, Morgan! Many times! The first chapter of this WIP originally began with a flash forward to the two soldiers in China, having a training sword fight in sort of a gymnasium. It was confusing, because the ext chapter was them leaving for China, and I subsequently learned that Romans always trained with wooden swords. I wrote a completely different prologue. However, I subsequently needed that kind of scenario, though between a woman Xiong-nu warrior and one of the two soldiers, done with real swords. Fortunately I had kept the old chapter, and with just minor changes, dropped it right in.


    Never delete a file!
     
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  15. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Plugging right along in my new piece. :write:

    I've gotten into the habit of changing my text color to red for details that I find irksome. A word, a phrase, a new character's name that sucks.

    Rather than stop, I'll simply puke out the clunky whatever it is, color it red, and carry on with the scene. When I come back to it later, the red text serves as a shiny beacon of FIX THIS and is much easier to find than a note in brackets inserted into the narrative.

    It's been working quite well so far. :-D
     
  16. davidov
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    davidov Member

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    I have to revise and rewrite as I go along, never going more than a few pages without stopping and going over it and trying to get it more or less perfect before going on. For me there's no other way. I once tried just ploughing on, and ended up with a 300,000 word mess that would take much longer to fix than it took to write - and I never did get around to fixing it.
     
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  17. RikWriter
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    RikWriter Member

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    I edit as I go. My first two novels I had completed and then was assigned a couple professional editors from my agent. I did as they said, but I felt it made parts of both books seem too choppy and it took several more tries before I got them to flow the way I wanted. When I wrote sequels, I found what worked best for me was to outline a few chapters at a time, write them, then edit them right then. It takes longer to finish the book that way, but it incorporates the editing; so instead of plowing through and finishing a rough draft in 6 months and then spending another 6 months revising and editing, I just spend a year writing, 2 weeks or so proof-reading and then I'm done.
     
  18. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Yes. I like that you mentioned that. Never delete a file. Well, never is a long time, but certainly not often. I'd add by saying never work on an original file either. Always copy the file you're working on before you start an edit, and once you're finished with the edit, that file becomes your new file, and the previous one goes into the archives. Keep them straight by dating them as part of the working chapter title.

    This is how I was finally able to write a novel. I do so much chopping and changing as I write. My handwritten manuscripts became an unworkable dog's breakfast so quickly, I really couldn't keep going. This way,with archived versions as backup, I can write and edit without fear. And yes, sometimes I do access old versions for stuff I've cut and want to restore.
     
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  19. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Same here.
    Get everything you can down on paper.
    Then focus on themes, foreshadowing, messages, and whatever else that can drive interest.
    It's too much when you need to do it, write the whole story, and still figure out every odd detail that pops up randomly...
     
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  20. Siena
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    Siena Active Member

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