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  1. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

    Dec 7, 2014
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    fargo, ND

    How long to wait before deleting words.

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by DeadMoon, Sep 7, 2015.

    How long do you wait before you delete something you wrote that you do not like?

    I try to wait at least a day to reread the words in question but there are time when I have spent a good chunk of time writing and when I stop to read over it and instantly want to get rid of all of it knowing it is crap and knowing that i don't like it.

    Should I still hold on to it, re read it later on hoping find some part of it I like, or trust my initial judgment and cut it out right away?

    What does every one else handle it?
  2. OurJud

    OurJud Contributing Member Contributor

    May 21, 2009
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    Individual words I delete immediately and constantly. I spend as much time taking words out as I do putting them in.

    Sentences, probably the next time I write. I always start a session by re-reading the last chapter, and will quite often delete / replace words and even whole sentences from that one before moving on with the next.

    To answer your question, I'd say yes, try and keep hold of as much as possible. Just keep telling yourself that it's a first draft and that the time for deleting whole passages out of sheer frustration, is not now.
    DeadMoon likes this.
  3. outsider

    outsider Contributing Member Contributor

    Feb 4, 2012
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    Glasgow, Scotland
    In terms of individual words and sentences, I am constantly editing as I go but I would say you should never, or at least very rarely delete whole chapters. These can always be refined or restructured later at a redrafting stage. You could, of course, still be of a mind to bin it/them then but as the old adage has it, it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.
    OurJud and Tenderiser like this.
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

    Aug 12, 2015
    Likes Received:
    London, UK
    If something irks me then it has to go. When I posted a piece here, all of the bits I was uncertain of were picked up by others as clunky/awkward/whatever. I've learned to go with my gut instinct.

    But if I just think "eh, is this section too boring?" or "maybe this isn't realistic", I plough on and then read through it on my Kindle. Quite often it reads so much better than I thought it would. If something isn't quite right, I can usually spot it immediately when I use this method, even if I couldn't while I had the Word document open.

    I know the difference between the two - an instinctual feeling that something isn't right vs a moment of self-doubt. It's taken me a while though.

    This x1000. So many times I have gone back to find paragraphs or even whole chapters that I'd deleted, because I realised they were needed after all.
  5. Aled James Taylor

    Aled James Taylor Contributing Member Contributor

    Sep 7, 2013
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    If I feel a passage no longer fits the story, I copy it to another document (my 'extras' file), so I can reinsert it later if I change my mind, although I hardy ever do. It's no big deal to move text around with cut-and-paste, so I don't worry about making a mistake. I often move text around, since I'm developing a series of books that are pretty much made of sub-plots. Weaving the yarns is no easy task.
  6. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Something Wicked this Way Comes. Contributor

    Aug 8, 2015
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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    There are 6 copies of my WIP. So taking the axe out is not a big deal. Funny I pretty much reread all 250 Word doc. pages, snipping away the bits I find out of place or add in where my stupid fingers forgot to. So I feel your pain.

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