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Quentin Nokov
05-21-2008, 08:35 PM
I was thinking about the story that I'm writing and how I've revised the first chapter 7 or 8 times already and I'm still writing it. My question is how many revisions did you make until you thought it was perfect enough to send to an agent, publisher or beta reader? Also did you revise while you wrote it or did you not make any revisions until you were completely done. (Revisions don't include fixing a paragraph to make it coherent with a future chapter or changing a name. Just over all revising; scratching sentences, rewording sentences, deleting chapters, sentences, unneeded words etc.)

MrWrite
05-21-2008, 08:40 PM
I actually read the first five pages after writing them. First thing that I noticed was my tendency to use the word WAS far too often! I counted at least 8 on the first page alone, actually found 2 in one sentence! So I review whatever I write and make changes as I need. I'll probably carry this on through the writing process then do what many others have suggested... leave it alone for a month then go back and re-read.

Elodie-Caroline
05-21-2008, 08:42 PM
When I first started writing, I did the whole thing and then edited it, it took me as long to edit it, as it did to write it. Now I edit as I go along, but thankfully, I don't have to do so much editing these days anyway. I guess I'm learning more the more I write.


Elodie

aka eraser
05-21-2008, 09:25 PM
There's no right answer for your question. Not every gem requires the same amount of cutting and polishing before it's marketable.

I tend to edit the previous day's work before going on to that day's writing. When the work is complete, I then go back and revise the whole.

scope
05-21-2008, 09:56 PM
Ditto to what aka eraser said.

seun
05-21-2008, 10:36 PM
I get the first draft done and then start revision/editing. If I did it any other way, I probably wouldn't ever finish the first draft.

Aggy B.
05-21-2008, 11:22 PM
My rule is revise whenever it feels right. Sometimes you just won't be able to continue without putting a little more work into a chapter you've already "completed".

For me the beginning is especially important to get right. If it doesn't start out on the right foot the whole rest of the project will limp along. Doesn't mean it won't eventually get finished, but it will suffer from not having started off correctly.

That being said, no matter how much revising I may do on a given day I still have to meet my daily word count and add completely new material. This means even when I'm up to the sixteenth revision on the first chapter there are still new chapters slowly getting added.

Revising can also be a good way to get through a writers block (or writers fatigue which is more common) and start moving forward again.

Kalyke
05-22-2008, 12:04 AM
The first draft is structural. That is where you do your more basic story. I sometimes forget that and start "nit-picking" with dialogue, grammar and so on.

the first draft is where you are actually "building the story." I think of the first draft as a totally different animal that the "polish stages" which deal first with details and then get to the "perfect word."

You start working on the "polish" after you have a perfectly rational, logically structured first draft. This is when you have a "perfect" story. It is unpublishable in this form. It is still crude (which is a good word) and needs refinement.

So to answer the Question, there is first draft editing and there is "polish" editing. How long it takes or many passes depends on what sort of editor you have and what sort of writer.

I've been trying for this:

outline: 1-2 pages,
boiler plate: 25 pages more or less,
first draft: 75% of finished size, (I am an under-writer, not an over-writer)
revisions: adding detail and sculpting final work 100%

scope
05-22-2008, 02:24 AM
I was thinking about the story that I'm writing and how I've revised the first chapter 7 or 8 times already and I'm still writing it. My question is how many revisions did you make until you thought it was perfect enough to send to an agent, publisher or beta reader? Also did you revise while you wrote it or did you not make any revisions until you were completely done. (Revisions don't include fixing a paragraph to make it coherent with a future chapter or changing a name. Just over all revising; scratching sentences, rewording sentences, deleting chapters, sentences, unneeded words etc.)


It's never, ever perfect -- at least my works aren't, including all of my published works.

Every time I pick up a "complete" manuscript I find things to re-write, but to some degree I think that's the nature of the beast. However, there does have to be a point where we say the work is terrific (never perfect) and it's ready to be submitted. For me, that usually comes after about 15 rewrites -- at the beginning, major, winding down to what I believe is minor. For me, the minor re-write is accompanied by a feeling I can't put in words. A feeling -- a voice -- telling me something like: "Hey, this is really good." It's when I get this feeling that I know it's time to submit to my agent or publisher.

I do some minor revision while I work. I re-read and revise each new day what I've previously written. However, about 75% of my re-writes come after the entire manuscript is written.

Matera the Mad
05-22-2008, 04:05 AM
It starts immediately and goes on and on, there is nothing to count.

ishtar'sgate
05-22-2008, 09:36 AM
I revise throughout the whole process. I can't move on until I'm satisfied with what I've written the day before. Once a chapter is completed I reread the entire chapter, making further revisions. The first chapter generally takes me the longest and I'll revise and rework it countless times. As for how long is long enough? I don't really know. I'd still love to take my book off the shelves and make further revisions.
Linnea

gettingby
05-22-2008, 10:15 AM
I hate revising. I am used to writing on deadline and writing very clean copy on deadline. Now I can finally thank my evil, scary, wonderful editor for everything he put me through. (Years as a staff writer) But I do often reread from the beginning of a chapter or a section as I write. I know when things are clicking and when they are not. That comes from training, I believe. Also, I never send anything off without stepping away and giving it a final read through. Sometimes there are minor revisions, and sometimes I open a new word document and start from scratch because I realize I do know exactly how to say what I meant to say the first time.

JJ Cooper
05-22-2008, 01:34 PM
Ten chapter rule for me (usually around 15,000 words). I write for ten chapters then do a complete edit. It helps me tighten up the plot, ensure I'm on my target, get my characterisation and pace on track, and many more details. I then send those ten chapters to Betas for an edit. Whilst waiting for them to get back to me, I get going on the next ten. And, I also read the last chapter I wrote before commencing a writing session.

Works for me.

JJ

Sargentodiaz
05-22-2008, 07:13 PM
I have a hunch I will edit until it gets sold and is in the hands of an agent or editor! Then, I am sure the editor will revise it even further.

Quentin Nokov
05-22-2008, 09:27 PM
So some authors may need to revise 20 times and then other might only need to revise 5 or 10? Basically I look at some of my chapters and at least at the moment I feel they are perfectly fine. Some chapters have been revised 8 times where some have only been revised two or three. Does that happen or should there usually be an average of so many revisions?

Aggy B.
05-22-2008, 10:08 PM
There is no average number for revisions. You work on it until it feels right. Sometimes after you put it aside for a while and come back you'll find more to work on, hence the comments that the book "is never really finished." Other times you may come back later thinking to do more editing and realize there isn't anything left to fix.

How many times you revise depends on the writer, the chapter, the overall story, and your current skill level (both as a writer and an editor) and expectations. There is no magic number that will make a story perfect.

Sunshine13
05-23-2008, 06:17 AM
I usually revise after I finish a chapter, and that's the polishing kind of revising. I'm a bit of a perfectionist, which sucks ass in this profession, but anyway.... :P

Even after I revise it/polish it, after a good handful of chapters (no real set count) I'll go back through them and polish/revise again. When I got to the smack middle of my WIP I took a good several months break from block or fatigue or whatever it was I had. I started up again, leaving my first chapter alone. I'm still at odds with knowing if it is where it should be or not, but now that I've reached the half way point I want to finish it.

When I start to write for the day, if it's in a chapter, I'll start at the beginning of the chapter I'm writing in to get my fluidity going, but also tend to edit if I see anything. I'm still a poor editor though and hope to gain better skills as I keep doing this.

In the long run I guess, I edit/revise/polish as I go so that when I'm finished I'm finished and there isn't too much more for me to do so my eagerness can be rewarded by sending it to my beta readers. All that I will have left are first and last chapter tightening, and little tidbits I make notes to add to other chapters to tie everything together.