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Thread: Drafts and reviews

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Drafts and reviews

    Apologies if this is in the wrong bit or has been asked 16 thousand times before.

    But as I trudge through my first draft, I'm having an impending sense of doom about the point at which I'll have to go back and review it.

    I'm enjoying the draft process, just taking it 500 words a day, but I wondered how do other people draft? Do you review and rewrite every couple of thousand words or so? Or do you all wait until the end and then start hitting delete?

  2. #2
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    Personally, I make myself finish the first draft before I double back for revisions.* If I kept letting myself revise before I hit the finish line... well, it becomes another form of procrastination. And I have too many ways to procrastinate to add one more to the pile.

    * - If I hit an absolute dead-end in the first draft, and can work out exactly what I need to change to get moving again, I will go back... only to change that one thing. Or I'll just slap a note-to-self in there and plow ahead on my new trajectory, saving changes for revisions.
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  3. #3
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    First draft? Write it all out without looking back.
    My sequential drafts are rewrites, and I don't go through those either.
    Then I start revising, and chopping things up.
    And then I go through small edits and straighten things up.


    For my short stories, I write out a scene and the next day I edit through what I wrote last and continue from there.
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  4. #4
    Following my North Star L. Y.'s Avatar
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    I like to finish that first draft before I edit.
    Write. Edit. Rinse, repeat.

    Edit with your head, write with your heart.


  5. #5
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    I like to finish first before I edit. But you do whatever works for you.
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  6. #6
    Tyrant King jeffo20's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickyb View Post
    Do you review and rewrite every couple of thousand words or so? Or do you all wait until the end and then start hitting delete?
    I pretty much go all the way through to the end before reviewing and revising. AT times I will make notes about something that I think may need changing. At times I will revise a scene if something in it is really, really bugging me when I'm not writing, but usually I'll just plow on ahead until I'm done. That's worked for me pretty well so far.
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  7. #7
    Soldier, Storyteller Linda Adams's Avatar
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    I'm a pantser and have trouble getting the details into the story. So I draft a scene, then go back to it and get the bigger details like setting and world building in. The smaller details can come with the revision. I don't do anything else until I get to the end of the story.

    Then I make two fast passes over the story. After saving a version of the story, of course.

    1. Cut unnecessary scenes out BEFORE I start any revision. Because I'm not using an outline, sometimes ideas come in but then they self-edit. This is just to clean them out so I don't end up wasting time revising them. I dropped 11K off my revision when I did this, and it helped me see the story better.

    2. Then I make a run through the book, looking for junk that wandered in. A sentence here, a paragraph there ... It seems to be a product of how I write and can lead to some great creative ideas, but it gets in the way on the revision. It's a very, very fast edit, like cleaning up, and I usually don't get it all.

    After that, then it's time to revise.
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  8. #8
    can totally spell Brobdinrgnagrian buzhidao's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickyb View Post
    Apologies if this is in the wrong bit or has been asked 16 thousand times before.

    But as I trudge through my first draft, I'm having an impending sense of doom about the point at which I'll have to go back and review it.

    I'm enjoying the draft process, just taking it 500 words a day, but I wondered how do other people draft? Do you review and rewrite every couple of thousand words or so? Or do you all wait until the end and then start hitting delete?
    Some people finish first; some people revise as they go. Just depends what works for you. I do an extremely haphazard combination of both. Whatever it takes to get myself to move forward...

  9. #9
    Rock-licker
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    I used to rewrite and rewrite every scene, to the point where I always got sick of my WIPs and dumped them. Now I force myself through it, because even if I know the scene is complete crap I know I'll go back and fix it after everything's done. I just have to make sure I finish and don't give up on it.

  10. #10
    Dorothy A. Winsor dawinsor's Avatar
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    I like to finish the draft first. Sometimes things I write near the end give me ideas for changes I want to make earlier on too.

  11. #11
    Twitching ap123's Avatar
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    I review as I go, it helps me to orient myself each day, and keep the story tighter. I'll make smaller changes and edits when I do this, but for possible larger changes I usually make notes and keep it as is until I begin the second draft.
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  12. #12
    Old Hand in the Biz Barbara R.'s Avatar
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    Obviously there's no right or wrong answer. Personally, I revise as I go, in large part because it gives me great pleasure and impetus to get a scene right. Then, once the draft is done, I go back and revise some more. Take me a long time to finish a first draft, but then the revising stage generally goes quickly.

    But whatever works for you is fine.

  13. #13
    Angel Wing Fetish VoireyLinger's Avatar
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    I write in 20 minute bursts, 10 minutes between. During that 10 minutes, I do a quick read over what I just did, do some quick fixes, then move on, effectively editing as I go. When I hit the end, I go back immediately full edit round. I avoid rewriting.

  14. #14
    a demon for tea EMaree's Avatar
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    I've been caught in the rewrite trap before, so now I write to the end. I'll make notes for planned changes but won't action them until I'm done draft 1.
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  15. #15
    practical experience, FTW Jessica_312's Avatar
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    Whatever works for you. I'm anal and tend to be a "revise-as-you-go" person. Everyone has their own process, though....
    "The road to hell is paved with adverbs" - Stephen King

  16. #16
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickyb View Post

    I'm enjoying the draft process, just taking it 500 words a day, but I wondered how do other people draft? Do you review and rewrite every couple of thousand words or so? Or do you all wait until the end and then start hitting delete?
    I rewrite as I go, starting at the sentence level.

    Not saying everyone should do it this way; it's what works for me. It's how I discover the story.

  17. #17
    Azarath Metrion Zinthos AshleyEpidemic's Avatar
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    I tend to write the draft and go back for a round of edits. I generally don't rewrite if I had the scene plotted out before starting the first draft.
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  18. #18
    empty-nester! shadowwalker's Avatar
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    I edit/revise as I go - when I finish a paragraph or page, it's ready for the polish unless the betas point out something.
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  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW MakanJuu's Avatar
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    I've kinda been weird about it.

    Moreso for me, I've done back & forth sessions of writing & editing, and I'm only on chapter 2...

    Other than that, I've done a bit of a Goodkindian thing where I've been just writing a sentance that comes to me exactly how it comes, then erasing it & finding a better way to say it.
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  20. #20
    Tell it like it Is Susan Littlefield's Avatar
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    I generally edit as I go along, and do one more pass through once it's all done. This is not always how I've done it, but it's what seems to be working best for me now.
    Susan

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  21. #21
    Just pokin' about Anna Spargo-Ryan's Avatar
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    I edit as I go. It invigorates me to be able to pick it up the next day from a point that I know isn't horrible (anymore ).
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  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Thanks guys - how long did it take you all to write the first draft - sorry I'm sure this has already been discussed, and did you do it full time or on top of the day job?

  23. #23
    Purple hair, not prose. VanessaNorth's Avatar
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    I usually write 90% of a first draft before i start revising. The final ten percent is added in revision, usually.

    My fastest draft ever was submitted to the publisher 19 days after i started it, and it was a 22k novella.

    I've been working on my space opera "little wing" about 18 months now and am not likely to finish soon. :/

    I write and work as a content editor, do not have an outside of my home job, but do have small children, aka the "all the time" job

  24. #24
    figuring it all out
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    I always read the last thing I wrote before I start a new writing session, and allow myself to edit for style and language and whatnot if I happen to think of a good turn of phrase or just a less-bad way of stating something. I also might make changes to story that occur during those last few hundred words, too, if I recently thought of a better way that scene should go.

    Beyond that, though, I don't bother rewriting or revising past work before a draft is done. The first draft of a work is generally exploratory (I don't use outlines), and even if I think of a much better way that X should have gone, it's very possible that I'll think of an even better way it could have gone down the road, so I may as well wait. I do take notes, though, especially on longer works, so that if I have a great idea I don't forget it.

    Because of the way I write, though, my first drafts are largely incoherent. I generally change plot arcs in major ways as I go, and write current scenes based on what I've decided should have happened previously, so if you read my first drafts you will keep going, "Wait, who's this person who everyone seems to suddenly know?" or "Wait, isn't this guy dead?" or "Why do people keep referencing an event that never actually happened?"

    As to how long it takes me to write a draft? If we're talking novels - I assume we're talking novels, here - then it takes somewhere around 6-8 months. That includes occasional diversions to write a short or two along the way.

  25. #25
    living in the past ishtar'sgate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickyb View Post

    I'm enjoying the draft process, just taking it 500 words a day, but I wondered how do other people draft? Do you review and rewrite every couple of thousand words or so? Or do you all wait until the end and then start hitting delete?
    I'm a revise-as-I-go kind of writer. I generally leave off writing for the day before I've finished a scene. The following day I go back over what I've written and make any revisions before moving on with finishing a known scene and then working on the current day's writing session. I do this every day. At the end of a chapter I revise the entire chapter. I follow the same routine for each chapter. I'm not the kind of person that can just get it all down before doing revisions. I'd go nuts with anxiety.

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