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Thread: Burn through or stop/review?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Burn through or stop/review?

    It's the big question for me right now, and I need some opinions.
    Started writing about two weeks ago, currently up to 27665 words, which is far more than I've written in years. What usually happens is I start well, lose confidence and butcher myself with editing before finishing. Well, I don't want to do that anymore.
    But, on the other hand, I've realised that actually what I've written is totally awful from a plot point of view. Pointless characters, embarrassing tropes, and, most horrifyingly, terrible stereotypes. There needs to be a significant edit of what's been written so far.
    So there is the dilemma. Do I burn through, follow the story as-is and then spend a lot of time reviewing and editing, or do I edit what I've got and then continue?
    What would you do in this situation?

  2. #2
    All the nopes. lizmonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDogJr View Post
    It's the big question for me right now, and I need some opinions.
    Started writing about two weeks ago, currently up to 27665 words, which is far more than I've written in years. What usually happens is I start well, lose confidence and butcher myself with editing before finishing. Well, I don't want to do that anymore.
    But, on the other hand, I've realised that actually what I've written is totally awful from a plot point of view. Pointless characters, embarrassing tropes, and, most horrifyingly, terrible stereotypes. There needs to be a significant edit of what's been written so far.
    So there is the dilemma. Do I burn through, follow the story as-is and then spend a lot of time reviewing and editing, or do I edit what I've got and then continue?
    What would you do in this situation?
    Given that you have a history of abandoning your work during editing, I'd say burn through.

    Talked to a guy at a con a couple of weeks ago who asserted that a first draft needs to do two things: 1. be complete, and 2. suck. Which is a bit of an exaggeration (and certainly not everyone's methodology!), but I do subscribe to the idea that having a complete draft in dire need of editing is MUCH better than having a partial draft that you've poked at so much you've come to hate.

    Your old method hasn't done it for you. Why not try something new and see how it goes?
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  3. #3
    practical experience, FTW Bacchus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDogJr View Post
    It's the big question for me right now, and I need some opinions.
    Started writing about two weeks ago, currently up to 27665 words, which is far more than I've written in years. What usually happens is I start well, lose confidence and butcher myself with editing before finishing. Well, I don't want to do that anymore.
    But, on the other hand, I've realised that actually what I've written is totally awful from a plot point of view. Pointless characters, embarrassing tropes, and, most horrifyingly, terrible stereotypes. There needs to be a significant edit of what's been written so far.
    So there is the dilemma. Do I burn through, follow the story as-is and then spend a lot of time reviewing and editing, or do I edit what I've got and then continue?
    What would you do in this situation?
    There are as many different methods as there are writers, although I agree with Lizmonster that, maybe for you, it's time to try a different approach.

    At the rate you're writing you could have a full length novel in three or four weeks, so I'd say go for it - then put it to one side for a month and do something else. Come back to it, read it, decide what you don't like about it, decide what you want it to be, and make it so.

  4. #4
    Benefactor Member WeaselFire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDogJr View Post
    Do I burn through, follow the story as-is and then spend a lot of time reviewing and editing, or do I edit what I've got and then continue?
    Absolutely.

    Either works, or any combination, but what is important is what works for you. How I write best is unlikely to be identical to how you write best and there's only one solution that always works, every time, no matter what. It's called Butt In Chair. Write the story and don't stop until it is entirely finished, edited multiple times, reread and rewritten until it's perfect.

    Jeff

  5. #5
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    You ever feel like things are just working against you?
    The more I've thought about this story the less it makes sense, and it's got to a point where almost all of it is totally pointless. It tells a story - but what about? Nothing. It's a story for a story's sake, and I'm just not comfortable creating that.
    You'll all probably groan and roll your eyes at this, but I think it's for the best to just... start over. Spend longer planning out, crating real story arcs, engaging characters with realistic motives, you know, actually doing something worth the time haha
    But thank you for the advice, all of you

  6. #6
    Back on Track Carrie in PA's Avatar
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    Make a note, and continue the story as though the change has already been made.
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  7. #7
    Lost In The Realms RaiscaraAvalon's Avatar
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    I'd keep going, keeping an eye on what you don't like about the first part - that's how you find out the story! Especially if going back to edit makes you stop writing.
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  8. #8
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MDogJr View Post
    What would you do in this situation?
    I edit and revise as I go, so there's your answer to that question. There's no way I'd want to revise a whole novel's worth of the first scrapings off the top of my mind.

    If you don't want to fall into the constant rewriting of the opening chapters trap, but don't want to forge ahead and end up with a mess, try writing at a slower pace and giving yourself time to think things through. That will result in some rewriting as you go, but maybe not so much you get stalled.

  9. #9
    From the Depths he comes wolfking's Avatar
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    I would hop onto the "burn through" mentality. A rough draft is going to have issues, and it should. Get the draft done so you have a skeleton to build off of.

  10. #10
    Moar Whine Little Anonymous Me's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with taking a step back to reassess characters and plot, but I wouldn't scrap it and start over completely. I would advise figuring out what changes you're going to make to your plot and characters, and start making them now, as you continue writing. You'll still have to fix the first 30K (honestly though, there are so few writers who don't have big bits to edit. You're in good company), but the rest of the story will start going the way you now want it to.
    #1: 63K Scrapped for parts. All hail Frankennovel.
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  11. #11
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin airandarkness's Avatar
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    Like others, I suggest you burn through it. Not because that is the best way or the only way, but, if you know usually have trouble finishing a project because you get stuck editing it, then definitely you should try to let the editing slide for now and just finish the story. There's a reason a lot of new writers get this advice (and writers who may not be new but have trouble finishing projects), and that's because, first and foremost, finishing the story if the most important thing. You can go back and edit now, but if you never have a finished draft, then what's the point? What does it matter how good it is if it's never done? Edits and revisions can always be done later. You may also find that things about the story improve as you write the rough draft - my characters often start off not very well rounded, but they get better as I go, and then I always go back and fix them in the early parts of the story.

    I say this as someone who does, now, usually stop about a third of the way/halfway through the manuscript and go back to do some revising, and to revisit where the rest of the story is going to go. But I do that because I am confident I will finish, even if I take a break for some rewrites. I've finished plenty of projects and don't have the problem of getting bogged down in editing. I also discovered I HATE revision/second drafts - a lot of writers don't, because that's where they're story comes together. But that's not the way for me, I prefer to have the big stuff down in the first draft.

    So, in conclusion, there's no one right way, but judging what you've said about your history, I would suggest just getting through it and going back to revise once it's done.

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