1. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Which kind of writer are you?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Tesoro, Jan 9, 2011.

    Reading a book called "revision and self-editing" by James Scott Bell i stumbled upon an interesting theory:

    "there are two kinds of writers: Taker-outters and Putter-inners. Some writers like to write a lean first draft, sometimes leaving out whole sections of description or the transition, and then add to the manuscript during the revision stage. These are putter-inners. Other writers prefer to write and write and write that first draft, to put everything in they can think of and only worry about cutting back later. Either approach will work, but usually the writer will feel more comfortable doing one or the other. Are you the sort of writer who is anxious to get the manuscript finished as quickly as possible? You might be a putter-inner. Are you are writer who likes to discover the story as you go along, following different tangents as they arise? Then you are probably a taker-outter."

    I found this interesting, especially because i so recognize myself in the putter-inners category, I write REALLY lean first drafts and only when finished I start adding the stuff missing out. Which category do you belong to?

    I would recommend this book to everyone working on a novel because there is so much to learn here.
     
  2. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's interesting. I'm not quite sure what I am, to be honest.

    I know I like to write 'well', even in the first draft but I guess I'm a bit of both.

    I put in more if needed, or take out stuff that is not. Depends really.
     
  3. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am somewhere in the middle. I refine certain scenes and expand others.
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Neither for me first draft is about finding out the story, getting to know my characters, practicing their interactions. Then I completely rewrite it, for the second draft. Then I edit it, but that in someways involves adding, and some removing. Sorting out punctuation etc

    With my first book it took me two months to write and rewrite the 50K words then six months to edit. My second book that I am at rewrite stage with has taken me three months so far but it is 90K and have moved house and had flu. Hope to have it to completion by Feb-March.
     
  5. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think too that editing always involve taking away stuff to some extent, and adding others, i think what the author means is that some people tend to put more emphasis on one than the other.
     
  6. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I know that is what they mean but with my way of working I found some scenes needed more. Others needed removing (I removed a 7000 word info dump I still love), but added a lot of dialogue beats and description in other places.

    Early draft I tend to write entirely infodump and dialogue lol I delete one and need to add description and depth to the other.

    I have developed a first draft style that works for me - I do not care about it enough. If at all, it is merely my orientation time with my writing. Almost my plan. Everyone works differently.
     
  7. JeffS65
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    JeffS65 Contributing Member

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    As seen here, no one person is probably exclusively one or the other so I look at answering this question with the thought of 'on average, I would...'

    On average, I am a 'taker outer'. I'm not an infodump type of writer though. I think quite a bit about what I write before I get down to it so what I take is less about chuck of the story or descriptions but more about refining the 'wordsmithing'. Making sentences more concise is usually my 'taker outer' thing.

    But, like everyone said, it's a bit of both.
     
  8. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    maybe its not true then, actally the theory was based upon a quote from F Scott Fitzgerald, so i dont think its a proven fact, i just thought it sounded interesting and was curious to know if you guys, too, recognize yourself in one of these two.
     
  9. RomanticRose
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    RomanticRose Active Member

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    I'm a taker-outer, for the most part. I operate on the premise that it's easier to write it down while I'm in the creative mode than it is to try to recapture the same mindset if those little extras are needed.

    Once in a great while, I discover that I have left out needed scenes and have to write them during an editing pass. But the scenes that make it into the first draft usually involve taking out rather than putting in.
     
  10. jellykid
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    jellykid New Member

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    I'd say I was both :)
    I add in the important details/do the vital changes, but I like to finish my story before going back to the little things. For instance, I want to make the relationships between some of my characters stronger but rather than going back now, I've made a note of this in my notebook so I remember to do it when I'm doing the second draft. A notebook is the way forward!
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'm a putter-inner hands down. :)
     
  12. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I do that too, make little notes in my notebook while working on something, to go back and insert it later. I dont use many words for my first draft and go back and add some more descriptions later for the scenes to become more real.
     
  13. ellebell16
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    ellebell16 Member

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    I'm a taker outter.

    I like to write the ideas as I get them and then worry about taking stuff out later. It's best to get everything down and not edit yourself while you're writing.
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    whoever said that is kinda silly, imo... they left out what may be the largest percentage of 'seasoned' writers, those who are neither... who, like me, write fully the first time around, then only 'adjust' here and there, in the editing phase...
     
  15. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    That's great and congratulations to you, but I'm pretty sure the majority of us have to deal with fixing plot holes, expanding where needed etc no matter how great of writers we are.
     
  16. CJStarkey
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    CJStarkey Member

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    I'm definitely a putter-inner. I write huge blocks as they come to me and then organize them when they start to form a story. After that, I go in and fill in all the blank spaces. I find it really helps me move on from writer's block by just moving on to the next piece of the story instead of getting stuck in one area and not being able to continue. It kills me when I've got a story almost completed and I go through and find spots where I thought--and sometimes still think--the writing is fantastic, but it doesn't fit in with the story and I have to take it out. Of course, I can't just delete it forever so I have a huge file with all the misfit genius moments I think I've had that maybe one day will fit in somewhere!
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Me too!
    When an idea come to me, I think about it a lot so that by the time I start to write I already have the beginning the middle and the end worked out - I just have to get from A to B to C.
     
  18. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I think I'm the second type. But, I'm not sure if I really like it more than the other type. I do write a lot, and try and get it done, and I enjoy that part. But having to go back and clean everything out and take out the trash is really boring. So, I think I am the second type, but I'd like to say I am trying to be the first.
     
  19. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    "Taker-outer" and "putter-inner". I see we're dealing with very technical terminology here. I would never consider myself all one or all the other, as in my editing I tend to do a great deal of both. I will say that I tend to be more verbose in first drafts than in final revisions, but it isn't just about the number of words. It's about ideas, details of characters, fleshing out plot ideas. So, while I'm cutting out excess verbiage, I'm also (I hope) adding depth and texture.
     
  20. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    I am certain no one can write using only one style entirely. The chance of someone not overlooking an idea or not coming up with any ideas that would work better or is needed is very slim. Similarly, the chance of every single idea working or is needed is minuscule. I believe there will always be something that needs take out and some things that needs add in.

    My style leans to neither side. I write what comes to me and add or take out what is needed.
     
  21. J_Jammer
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    J_Jammer Banned

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    You are more one than the other.

    You cannot be both equally. Yes everyone does both. But no way they do both equally.

    I put in a lot first and then go back and remove stuff while editing. Yes, I put stuff in, but I take more out...way more out as I continue to edit.
     
  22. Torkyn
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    Torkyn Member

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    Can you be a bit of both?

    I don't like writing lean drafts in that I'd rather write something a bit longer and cut back, but I tend to need to go back and add in information rather then take it out.

    I guess that makes me a putter-inner, but I'm a putter-inner that wants to be a taker-outer.
     
  23. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't imagine ever getting to the point where I can write it even more-or-less correctly the first time. I'd call myself a "collage" writer--I write stuff, then push the pieces around in new arrangements, paste new bits on, cut old bits out, then smooth the edges of what's left to give the illusion that I planned for it all to come in the order that it comes out.

    ChickenFreak
     
  24. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    me to - it is so much fun. I can't imagine not wanting to have that moment when I look at it and start to see the story appear from the drafts. I am at that stage with my WIP and it is fascinating. I now have the first three chapters in place. All they need now is some editing.

    It is almost my favourite bit, I don't ever want to become so accomplished I lose the fun aspects of the writing. Those moments of joy are too exquisite to miss.
     
  25. Islander
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    Islander Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm definitely a "putter-inner". I struggle to fill out scenes with detail, because I hesitate to put anything on the page which isn't good enough.
     

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