1. Thank you all for your patience with our technical errors. We think we've fixed it, but please do report anything that's not working right, by posting on the 'minor bugs' thread in Support and Feedback, which can be found here.
    Dismiss Notice
Tags:
  1. johnmk

    johnmk New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2016
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    St helens

    When to edit and deal with detail

    Discussion in 'Editing' started by johnmk, Dec 6, 2016.

    Hello, sorry Im a newbie and youre going to get lots of questions from me, so I apologise if they have been covered before.
    Whats best, to write your story down as fully as possible or do each chapter at a time polishing and editing before moving on, many thanks J
     
  2. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    It all depends on you.

    I think that if work style didn't influence creativity, it would make sense to do the whole draft first, then clean up any plot and theme and other issues, and only then start polishing at the paragraph and sentence and word level.

    But if seeing a bunch of unpolished prose discourages you or in any other way hampers your creativity, that immensely outweighs any efficiency win.

    On the other hand, if you polish forever and never move on, that strategy isn't going to work either.

    I remember once suggesting that a writer with a tendency to polish forever make a rule that they have to write the next bit before, not after, they polish the last bit.

    It all depends on what motivates you and what has a record of eventually getting some reasonably high quality words written.
     
  3. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2016
    Messages:
    575
    Likes Received:
    700
    From my experience there are two types of writers: Ones who try to, every time they put their fingers to a keyboard, try to get the perfect words, and ones who just spill their brain juice onto the page and decide to clean it up later.

    In my experience, trying to write everything well the first time discourages me. It makes me believe I have to be in a certain mood to write, that I need to 'warm up' like you would with art or sports. It makes me feel like if I'm going to sit down and write, I have to devote three or four hours just to produce anything good. That in turn prevents me from having the motivation to write.

    But when I accept that, just like drawing, the first draft is just throwing lines on the paper and figuring out what to do with them later, I feel more opened up to creativity. There are times when I'll write an entire page I know I'm going to delete just to get a few more paragraphs I think I might keep.

    For me, getting words on the page to work with is more important than the quality of those words. I need bricks to work with before I build a lego house.
     
  4. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    4,464
    Likes Received:
    3,476
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    Try both out and see where you fit in. I've done both. My first finished draft ever I wrote like a madman - if things didn't make sense, if I wrote down something I didn't like I just kept chugging along with the mantra in my head I'd fix it later. Oddly enough it was the quickest novel draft I've ever completed! I have to admit though it was easier not to look at what I wrote because I used pen and paper clipped on a clip board. It was easy to just put the finished pages into a binder and not read them. But if you want to take away the temptation of reading over what you wrote this is what I did for Nanowrite - each day I opened a new document and used the date to keep track of the story. When I was finished the day before I'd copy and paste the last paragraph into the next day's document so I'd know where to start off. It actually worked really well.

    But if you want to polish as you go that can work too. I do that now but it can definitely slow down my progress so I try to limit what I'm 'allowed' to fix. No major plot points only certain details. And I can back up if I feel that I'm writing myself into a corner. In my WIP I had one character take the mc to his rental house a big luxurious mansion after lunch. I didn't like the detail of him being in luxury when the story demanded he needed to look impoverished so I changed the scene to him pointing out his former mansion and taking the boy to his rundown apartment. Three pages scrapped but it got me back on track.
     
    nastyjman likes this.
  5. Adam Matlow

    Adam Matlow New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2016
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    UK
    I tried (and failed) several times before to start writing something, but I would always try and get the sentence/paragraph/chapter perfect before I carried on. This did not work for me at all because I often came up with better ideas for chapter one when I was in the middle of writing chapter five. Then I'd have to go back, change it and then make it perfect again. This took forever and I never got anywhere.

    As soon as I switched to just writing and not worrying about it being perfect I managed to pump out 100k words in a little over four months and finished the first draft of my manuscript. Looking back at it now, it's terrible, but that doesn't matter because now I can fix everything.
     
    jannert likes this.
  6. Crazy-catfish

    Crazy-catfish Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2016
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    31
    Helooooo fellow newbie!

    I'm not experienced at all but tend to find I write a chapter, then read, read, and re-read before I can move on to the next. This means however I find endless mistakes so can't help but edit it all before moving on. Not sure it's the usual way to do things, but guess there is no right or wrong.

    Glad you'll be asking a ton of questions as you'll probably ask loads of things I need to know too! :)

    @Infel
    From my experience there are two types of writers: Ones who try to, every time they put their fingers to a keyboard, try to get the perfect words, and ones who just spill their brain juice onto the page and decide to clean it up later.

    I am so the first one...and its so damn annoying!!
     
    Infel likes this.
  7. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Messages:
    17,531
    Likes Received:
    19,544
    Location:
    Scotland
    I read somewhere not long ago that the first draft is for getting your story 'out there.' Just get the story down. If you find you have to go back and make a major change that affects the plot or character development, then go ahead and make those changes you need before moving on. But don't worry about achieving perfection at this stage. Do your best, but don't linger.

    You've have plenty of time to polish and perfect your prose once you've finished your story. Be wary of anything that makes you lose your momentum.
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2014
    Messages:
    10,854
    Likes Received:
    11,676
    By way of contrast:

    I hate editing. I guess I'm more of a storyteller than a writer, because I NEVER want to agonize over getting every single word perfect, I just want to tell a story. And once I've told that story--ie. once I've finished writing it down the first time--I don't really want to spend much more time on it. So I try to get things right the first time around in order to spare myself the aggravation of having to go back over it a million times.

    Experiment and see what works for you. There's no "right" way to write.
     
  9. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2010
    Messages:
    15,344
    Likes Received:
    13,070
    While I love editing and hate first-drafting. Even I see that as weird.
     
    BayView likes this.
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    18,687
    Likes Received:
    21,667
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    I'm somewhere between the extremes - i want to tell the story and get the word choices etc right in first draft , but i know i'm going to make a million spag errors in the heat of getting the story out , so i'm resigned to an extensive edit as well
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice