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View Full Version : A question on writing technique: Critique and analyze as you go or afterwards?



cunparis
06-29-2007, 12:15 AM
I would like to get some ideas on how people write. I enjoy writing and have written some informal things on the internet and on my blog, and am working on a book proposal and sample chapters.

I've found that I can classify my writing approach/technique into two types:

The first type, I write and analyze, rewrite, critique, and rewrite every few lines. And then I repeat the phase for the paragraph. It's quite exhausting but I usually come away feeling good about what I wrote.

Then I read the first few chapters of "The Artist's Way". I haven't had the courage to get up early to write my morning pages yet, but one thing I did learn from the beginning of the book is the technique of writing without judging (which is similar to the technique I try to use when painting).

So lately I've just been writing, no judging, no changing, no reworking, just writing writing writing! Then after I'm done, I try to put it away and then judge/critique/rework it later.

I am really liking this approach and I'm wondering how others do it. I think those morning pages will really help me, I just have to find the time to do them in the morning.

-Michael
http://www.everydayfrance.com

reenkam
06-29-2007, 12:31 AM
What are morning pages?

Anyway, I like to just go ahead and write. Sometimes, if I think of something that should be change, I'll go and change it immediately. But I wouldn't call it editing or anything. I never edit each paragraph as I write it. I might write and the rewrite it that instant, but no more than once. I figure that if it's bad that moment it'll be bad later when I'm in "editor mode". Also, I like to get the whole idea down and then go through it all together so that I know exactly what's going on the whole revision time.

akiwiguy
06-29-2007, 12:45 AM
So lately I've just been writing, no judging, no changing, no reworking, just writing writing writing! Then after I'm done, I try to put it away and then judge/critique/rework it later.



Yes, I went through a phase of really creating crap, and the main reason, as I began to realise, was that I was going around and around in circles re-working until everything was just words swimming in my head. I find I can't possibly get an objective handle on my work until I've let it sit for a week or two.

Lately I've found that my way of working tends to be... suppose each night I'm doing a few paragraphs, the next night I'll speed-read them, and if there is something obviously unreadable about something then I will change it there and then before I start the new day's work. But the moment I can feel myself lapsing back into a quagmire of trying to find the "perfect" fix, I make myself leave it and head onwards.

Immediate extensive editing is disastrous for me... everything gets uglier and uglier, and worse still my whole creative flow is lost.

Shady Lane
06-29-2007, 01:06 AM
I edit as I write. Most people who do this tend to freak out about it--I definitely don't. I don't stress myself about getting them right immediately, I just want to get them a little better immediately. I fix sentences, I fix paragraphs, I cut, I add things, but it doesn't keep me from being productive.

The next day, I look over it all again, and cut things, and add things, and fix paragraphs. And then I keep going.

It keeps my first drafts from clogging my hard drive with their sheer nastiness.

Jamesaritchie
06-29-2007, 01:18 AM
I'm not a big fan of anything in or about The Artist's Way, so I can't comment there, but I tend to edit in my head before I write a sentence. When I put something down on paper, I expect it to be as perfect as possible the first time. It isn't always this way, of course, but first time perfect is still my goal. Think twice (Or five times) and write once, is the best way I can describe it. It's slower in the short term than writing it now and fixing it later, but much faster in the long run because so few drafts are needed. I find my work needs very little rewriting or editing with this approach.

Dave.C.Robinson
06-29-2007, 01:20 AM
I will do some minor edits as I write. I save the majority of my editing for once I've got the first draft finished and can look at the novel as a whole. I don't want to do too much because I don't feel I can do a really good job of editing until I have the story as a whole set out in front of me.

Tasmin21
06-29-2007, 02:22 AM
I edit as I write, cutting/changing words, rearranging paragraphs if necessary, catching a few errors I know I make habitually.

(now, explain to me, if I know that I make them enough to catch them almost instantly, why do I still make them in the first place?)

My theory on editing for technical/grammatical errors as I go is that I'll be able to concentrate on the bigger picture type edits once the work is complete.

Dave.C.Robinson
06-29-2007, 02:34 AM
I edit as I write, cutting/changing words, rearranging paragraphs if necessary, catching a few errors I know I make habitually.

(now, explain to me, if I know that I make them enough to catch them almost instantly, why do I still make them in the first place?)

My theory on editing for technical/grammatical errors as I go is that I'll be able to concentrate on the bigger picture type edits once the work is complete.

I can see the point to that-- for me the issue is that there are some edits and polishes that can't be done until the full structure is in place and you know which details are vital and which aren't.

licity-lieu
06-29-2007, 02:35 AM
Something I like to do is to write without looking at the screen. Just write and write. Try it. I get into a sort of trance where the keyboard and the images/words in my mind become something quite wonderful. When I finally do look at the words I wrote I find, strangely, that they flow a lot better than they would've if I had agonised over each one. I also like to put these pieces away for a while; it helps you to look to it with a fresh eye.