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A discussion to stoke your writing fire.
Posted: 9/22/2008 1:49 PM PDT
As a best-selling author, I hope I can help, otherwise it doesn't say much about my work :). I usually let the manuscript sit around for a good amount of time, about four weeks or so for me, so that it's completely cleared from my mind. Lock it away into a box and give the key to a friend if you have you. Everyone will at first think that the thing they've worked so hard on will be of great-ish quality, while if you forget about it for a while and have the chance for a clean impression of it, you will catch your mistakes. If you can't stand to put it away for so long, pick up a hobby or even start on a new book, you need to get your mind off of it. If you still remember it all, your brain will be searching for what you write when you read it. After your break, go through and look at it from a different angle. Perhaps re-write some scenes, change some plot points, etc. Make sure that the character's have depth and would actually do the things they do. Make the dialogue believable. I just saw the thread and thought I'd post something quick. If I have time later, I'll go more in-depth about it. Good luck! -J.T. Manis
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Posted: 9/22/2008 4:21 AM PDT
You could actually keep editing forever. There has to come a point where you "let go" of your baby creation and let it loose into the world so that it can take on its own identity. having said that I've always found it useful to leave writing to rest a few days, weeks... and then come back, a chapter at a time and edit for sntax and vocabulary. I tend to write really complex sentences and repeat myself if I'm not careful. I agree that it's a mix of what people say in feedback and what you instinctively feel yourself.
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Posted: 9/21/2008 10:44 PM PDT
Lady A - the problem with editing as you go is you end up with a stunning first paragraph that you can hold up for all eternity, and nothing else. There is no faster route to writers block than refusing to move forward until everything is 'perfect'. It will always be a draft, though hopefully it will eventually be a publishable version of the draft.
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Posted: 9/20/2008 9:08 PM PDT
Really what i would do is a mix of what everyone said here try and do some editing while you go like every ten pages or so just to keep it fresh in your mind and so after about the 50th page it doesn't seem to turn into a mindless drawl of corrections O.O and then take a break from it move on to something else like some short stories or another book for example and then come back to it like two weeks later. oh try an get someone to help you with it and let them go over it but make sure its someone you really trust otherwise it might end bad
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Posted: 9/20/2008 8:02 PM PDT
I totally agree with this. Write it, then put it down for a while and work on something else. When you return to it, you'll often find parts that aren't clear, redundancies, etc. Sometimes you find too many 'same names' for example Tim Johnson, Tom Thompson, John Jackson so can quickly 'find and replace' to make names as dissimiliar as possible to avoid confusion.
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Posted: 9/15/2008 11:32 AM PDT
How weirdly you people write! A draft, and then revising? I've never even thought about anything like it. I usually revise as I go, sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph. Chances are I won't write the first word of the next paragraph is I don't have at least the illusion that the last one will never need any more editing, ever. When I write the last word of a story it means I'm done, for good. It does happen than upon re-reading it later (a few days to a few years later), I will feel like removing one word here and adding one there, but it's really hard to touch anything more than that. I couldn't stand to go on writing something which I'd know to be but a draft, something unfinished/unpolished. It's like leaving an injured person on the side of the road, 'cause you'd rather drive the whole road to count the total number of injured men, prior to start helping any of them... My conscience says 'no'. You don't leave an injured man before you know for sure that he'll be just fine and/or doesn't need you any more.
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Posted: 9/15/2008 7:43 AM PDT
Forgot to add that once I´ve edited a couple of times, my husband edits it, then I send it off to an editor for the cream on top. Works for me. And believe me, if you let it, editing is enormous fun. Added you as friend ´cos of similar love of authors/books
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Posted: 9/15/2008 7:43 AM PDT
Forgot to add that once I´ve edited a couple of times, my husband edits it, then I send it off to an editor for the cream on top. Works for me. And believe me, if you let it, editing is enormous fun. Added you as friend ´cos of similar love of authors/books
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Posted: 9/15/2008 7:35 AM PDT
Congratulations on finishing your first draft. Firstly, you should celebrate. It´s a huge acheivement. I put it aside for a minimum of four weeks--six if I can--and work on something else. That way, when I come to edit I read the manuscript with fresh eyes and have some distance. Without that distance, you still have on your writer´s hat and not your editor one and you can find it difficult to press the delete key. I aim to cut 10% in next draft. When it´s more I buy myself a pressie! I know it can be painful when you think "but I spent all that time writing it." But it tightens your work and improves the story tenfold. Get a dictaphone and record it a page at a time or a paragraph at a time. When you play it back you´ll hear which parts don´t flow and need to be deleted or amended. Your ears pick up what your eye misses. This made a huge difference to my editing. Renni Browne and Dave King´s book Self-editing for Fiction Writers is a fabulous tool to take you through the tips of editing. Hope this helps. Happy editing!
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Posted: 9/14/2008 8:57 AM PDT
I find revising to be even more fun than the first draft. It's more work, and different enough to get frustrating at times, but it feels amazing. Before you dive headfirst into the revision process, however, you should find somebody - somebody you really trust - and have him/her read it. My roommate totally shifted the perspective of my novel for me, and honestly it's the best thing that ever happened to it. When I'm revising, I have to do it on paper. I printed out the whole draft and took a red pen to it. Once I've completed a big project I dance around and am incredibly giddy. I tell anyone who is awake (I have a knack for finishing projects in the vicinity of 3am) all about it. I cannot write on my own. I need people to point out what I'm doing wrong, or to tell me I'm being paranoid. If I have specific worries, I ask about them. We all know there are as many way to write as there are writers, but everybody needs to push themselves sometimes. Step back, take a deep breath, and go for it.
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Posted: 9/10/2008 7:28 PM PDT
I agree with Melissa, I'd definitely change tracks and get a trusted and well-read friend to give your work a read. Another great option is to give WEbook users a chance to take a crack at it.
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Posted: 9/10/2008 6:06 PM PDT
I'd take a break and work on a short story for a while! When I spend a lot of time working on a long project, I often practically memorize it, and then I have to leave it alone long enough to forget at least parts of it. Then, try asking someone you love (or, more to the point, someone who loves you) to read it out loud to you. Let him or her read through the whole thing without making any changes -- just make notes to yourself about the story. Listening to it, where do you feel engaged? Where does it drag or start to lose your interest? You can get your reader's opinion, too. He or she might be able to catch things that don't make sense or need more development that you can't see because, of course, in your mind it's not just developed, it's downright over-exposed. If you know other readers you trust, ask them to read it, too. Give them specific instructions on what kind of feedback you're looking for.
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Posted: 9/10/2008 3:02 PM PDT
Put it away for a few days, don't look at it.......... then pick it up and read it ot loud to yourself..... you wll notice things you dan't before.... you will have a fresh mind........... good luck.
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Posted: 9/10/2008 1:48 PM PDT
I just finished pumping out my first draft of my novel, and I'm really excited about it. It is the first time I've ever written something of this size-- two hundred and twenty pages. So here I am, excited, but also nervous and feeling unsure about where to go next. I know it needs a couple more revisions before I try and show it to people, but it took me so much effort just to push myself to the finish line I'm not sure where to go now. What about you? How do you go about the task of revising? What do you do when you've finally completed a big project? How do you fix something or allay your worries about certain aspects of your fiction?
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