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Editing Your Work



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Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:05 am
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Snoink says...



One of the reasons why writers don't want to extensively edit their work because it's SO HARD. I'm serious. Some editing, for me, is easy to do, but to rewrite? Wow. I have to kick myself in the butt before I would do that.

The reason for this? When I write, usually I have a direction to go in and everything's fine. I just write. But when I look back, OMG, the errors pop up. I see bad characters, bad dialogue, and it's hideous. So what do I do? Yup. Editing...

The problem is, especially when you have to rewrite certain sections, the story begins to suck. Like, horribly. Anything good you thought you have begins to look horrible and you want to stab your work until it dies in some horribly painful way.

You're probably experienced the horrible trauma of a rewrite before. Now, for me, I know I have definite conflicting emotions. Sometimes I think I'm the most terrible writer of them all because my rewrites suck. Other times, I want to give up and just stop trying. Still other times, I want to revert to the way it used to be. But, usually, I just trudge on, like a moron, to finish it.

But then something special happens. A new plot twist comes up, a character does something, and then suddenly things start falling into place. It's amazing what desperation can do! But, in the end, the edited piece isn't simply as good as the first draft. It leaves the first draft in the dust, writhing in humiliation.

And yes, it takes a long time, but it's well worth the effort. Happy editing!
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

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Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:15 am
Loose says...



Lol, that's a cute post, Snoink.

About two years ago my granddad died, so, in the theme of the mood, I decided to write about what happened. A year later I came back and cringed at absolutely every word written down!

Point of this story? I find re-writing the easiest when it's the hardest. Writing something disgustingly horrible, then coming back a month or so later, when the whole "ZOMG I'm writing something so super dooper" rush fades, It's easier to rip the piece apart and rebuild it.

Just my way, I guess...
  





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Sun Sep 02, 2007 5:26 am
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Leja says...



Oh, I love editing! Writing it the first time is like drawing the lines, editing and rewriting are like colouring them in ^_^
  





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Sun Sep 02, 2007 7:42 am
gyrfalcon says...



For me, there's a huge difference between editing and rewriting. I generally enjoy editing, until it gets to the "I just can't figure out what's wrong here but I know something's not right" phase (which is when I appeal to the wonderful YWS people to catch my mistakes).

But rewriting...ouch. I've only ever attempted/am attempting one full-fledged rewrite, and that's with Born of the Stars. And Snoink, you are so right. When I look back on old drafts of that story, I want to retch. And even with my new drafts, I find plenty of flaws, but when I really make an effort to start again, to redo every word and scene, it's amazing what can happen, the possibilities tha come floating to the surface. Thanks again for the wonderful advice!!!
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Sun Sep 02, 2007 8:49 am
Areida says...



I'm always hesitant to re-write, but it really is a necessary part of the process. Thanks for posting this, Snoinkus dear! :mrgreen:
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:27 am
yoha_ahoy says...



I can edit shorter stuff, but I have yet to even touch my NaNo novels from two years ago. Any sugestions on tackling larger projects?

~Yoyo 8)
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Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:44 am
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Snoink says...



yoha_ahoy wrote:I can edit shorter stuff, but I have yet to even touch my NaNo novels from two years ago. Any sugestions on tackling larger projects?

~Yoyo 8)


Actually... yes. Print it out (I suggest Times New Roman, 10 pt, double spaced, double-sided, to save paper) and then read through it once, without stopping. And yes, that means for several hours, you have committed yourself for about four hours, just straight reading. And you don't stop unless you have to go to bathroom or you need to drink some water. And, right after that, you continue reading.

After that, you go through and mark it up with a pen (I suggest red for mistakes, green for something you really want to keep, and blue for something that you want to remind yourself of). Then you go on your computer and write your changes.

It's... expensive, if only because of the paper, but it really is the most effective way to do it. And it's heartening to see your story on paper. Reading it on paper is completely different from reading it on screen.
Ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est.

"The mark of your ignorance is the depth of your belief in injustice and tragedy. What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls the butterfly." ~ Richard Bach

Moth and Myth <- My comic! :D
  





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Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:15 pm
Jasmine Hart says...



Ooooh thanks! That's a good tip.
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Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:51 pm
GryphonFledgling says...



I'm in the middle of a rewrite. And we are talking about completely (well almost) throwing out everything from before and starting completely afresh. :shock: It's actually not so bad, but maybe that's just me.

I also love editing. You know what they say: "The first draft is always sh--" And believe me, it is so true... The first draft of my work... :shock:

Ah well, all part of being a writer I suppose. :)

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Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:42 am
tgirly says...



So true. I started trying to re-read my novel for the first time, and ended up skimming a bunch because it was so painfully horrible. But now that I've started revising, progress is being made, if at a slug's pace. Thanks for the uplifting article. :)
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