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  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Nil

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    Last edited by MDogJr; 07-16-2017 at 04:52 PM.

  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?

  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
    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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  6. #6
    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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  7. #7
    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.

  8. #8
    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.

  9. #9
    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.
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  10. #10
    figuring it all out 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.

  11. #11
    figuring it all out _lvbl's Avatar
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    I'd say soldier on, but with the understanding that you may scrap those 27k entirely. And that's okay! You might be able to edit into something serviceable or you might realize that the next 27k are really the new beginning to your novel

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    I'm an advocate of pushing through and finishing, especially if you're the kind of writer who gets trapped in the editing process. Finishing a novel is not an easy thing as it is. What you could do is move on with the story and maybe work in a few notes about how you want to change those sections. Write the rest of the book as if you've already changed them.

  13. #13
    New kid...seven years ago! DancingMaenid's Avatar
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    Everyone is different. I feel better stopping and sorting out any identifiable issues, because otherwise, it's hard for me to move forward. But since you have a history of struggling to maintain momentum when you stop to edit, it would probably be a good idea to try soldiering on instead, to see how that works.

    Good luck!
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  14. #14
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    What is your prewriting process like? I'm not one who can stick to an outline, but some people with this issue find that they can sort out a lot of these problems through detailed outlines before they have so much prose down. I know some swear by methods like the snowflake method or phase outlines. If you haven't tried it and you keep dropping WIPs, then it's worth a shot.
    --Em

  15. #15
    figuring it all out RWrites's Avatar
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    I say burn through, then edit later. You can work with the finished copy and edit later, but if you lose that stamina, you may never get it back. Keep working through it, get critiques/betas, and then after it is finished, edit it.
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  16. #16
    Aerospace engineer turned writer Laer Carroll's Avatar
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    I'm not a fan of either/or answers.

    For me there's a middle ground between stopping to make something better near when we write it, or waiting until the whole thing is done. My personal method is to fix small problems that are easy to correct, but wait till the whole story is done to worry about big issues.

    Sometimes we don't truly understand what we've written until it's done. AND we've been away from it long enough to see it afresh. I'm constantly amazed at what I've written, and problems and promises of the finished work that I didn't see when I was down in the writerly boiler room shoveling literary coal.

    Another factor to keep in mind is that we are often, at least as we begin our writer's career, overly critical and feel that everything we write is awful. That's another reason why we might want to ignore our doubts and soldier on.

  17. #17
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrie in PA View Post
    Make a note, and continue the story as though the change has already been made.
    ^^great advice. I'd add to that and say take a short break, hour/day and write a couple dozen story one-liners until you think you know what your story is about, and THEN follow the above advice GL

  18. #18
    Sailing in a sea of mushroom... Nerdilydone's Avatar
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    Honestly, I think you should write the whole thing through first. One fun thing that you can do is use your mistakes to make the later plot interesting. For example, I once wrote a weird scene into an early part of a story, and then it ended up being a plot point later on.

    Editing a story is one of those things you can do when you're feeling uninspired, but want to do something constructive. I don't generally suggest editing mid-way through unless you know for a fact that the plot has gone in a flawed direction.

  19. #19
    Grateful for the day cooeedownunder's Avatar
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    I'm also one who edits as I go and constantly rereads from start to where ever I am up to. Sometimes, especially as a book grows I think I am never going to finish because I keep reading from beginning to end and rewriting some scenes. I normally have my ending written though, so it becomes a matter of filling in sections eventually and closing up all the holes in between. Quite often when I've finished my first draft though I have a very workable one.

    I do wish sometimes I could write first drafts from beginning to end and have wondered if I would write quicker. I had one book take more than five years to complete to a stage it was ready to be submitted, one only 7 months, one a year, and my current one is now going into three years.

    I think the more we write we sort out some system that works for us. Once a first draft is completed and we have written The End, we then have a guide to our writing process and although I find writing the middle of any book a bit of a slog and have been tempted to give up with each one, knowing that I eventually will get to the end and be able to say it is finished drives me on to get through what often feel a very lonely journey with no guarantee of anything except at the end satisfaction I've completed the work.

    I guess I'm thinking, chin up, keep writing the best way you know how to and it will sort itself out and somewhere you'll find a way that is comfortable to you.

    [edit]

    I forgot to mention that it took me 16 years to write my very first completed draft LOL and it isn't very good.

    Part of that story became part of my 2nd first draft. So it possibly took me 21 years to have a book really ready.
    Last edited by cooeedownunder; 07-02-2017 at 04:22 AM.
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  20. #20
    You Are My Density Gateway'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?
    I think it's normal to burn through and do lots of rewriting later. Each rewrite gets better.

  21. #21
    figuring it all out Hedwig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrie in PA View Post
    Make a note, and continue the story as though the change has already been made.
    That has to be the most efficient solution I've seen yet!

  22. #22
    figuring it all out Hedwig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BethS View Post
    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.
    I find myself falling into the same trap, rewriting the first few chapters, becoming unimpressed with my plot and revising from the start. I think there is a lot to be said for the Butt In Chair method, because part of what stalls us and makes us go back is a lack of confidence in our work. Our fears make us rewrite and they make us afraid to move forward. And for me, they leave the future of the story very blank, which leaves me with no where to go.

    If you are concerned that your plot is crap, I say you should spend some time freewriting and some dedicated time really thinking about your story. I find one of my biggest troubles is with my laziness and unwillingness to sit and think or research my work to get ideas. So I force myself to sit and think. I also force myself to keep writing, even if I know what I'm writing is crap. What would be truly discouraging to me would be to stop writing in the middle of a novel with no idea what would be happening going forward. I at least feel a sense of accomplishment for having reached the end and completed a thing, even if I do have to reshape the whole thing.

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