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Keep track of criticism!

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Mon Aug 06, 2018 3:48 am
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Evander says...

In a similar vein to... this link right here. Read this one.

It's time to rewrite/start your next draft!

Scenario 1: You sit down, ready to write, when you remember a helpful piece of criticism that you received in chapter one. Well, you half remember it. Was the advice in regards to Sir Darius or Lady Idria? Was "then" your problem word or "just" or both? No longer writing, you pull up the piece of criticism that you got and find yourself wading knee-deep through five reviews. Finally, refreshed on the relevant information, you tab back to the page you were writing and then... wait a minute, there was a second piece that you needed, right? Wasn't there a fourth and third piece of criticism about the opening that you had wanted to keep in mind? Was it in review three or review one?

Scenario 2: You gave your first draft to a friend who gave you great advice! Unfortunately, all of this advice was verbal. You're about to write your second draft, trying to keep their advice in mind, but... dang it, did their note about poisons and antidotes belong in the third chapter or the fifth? Did they find Klaxius the Dark Wizard to be shady or were they more suspicious of Reginald the Fourth? Darn it, maybe you'll have to text them again...

Scenario 3: Your memory is perfect and you're able to keep all advice straight and coherent forever.

Pssh, nah. Scenario 3 is an author's dream, but it's not often reality.

I'm running into this myself with the second draft of my recent short story -- I've had a lot of great advice given to me by a bunch of people (a lot of it is conflicting too! so double confusion!), but it's often hard to keep coherent when I'm sitting down to actually figure out what to do in the next draft.

I don't think that this is a grand idea never thought of before, but it was definitely one that I never really had to think about considering. Pssh, sure, I'd be able to keep track of the advice given in both Discord and YWS! Surely nothing would go wrong! Oh god, everything has gone wrong. Like, 90% of my "writing" today has been reading through the reviews and just trying to keep everything in my head.

...which hasn't been working.

So, I've decided to keep a document solely for keeping track of criticism. It'll be ordered based on where in the story I have to keep it in mind -- pertinent advice like repetitive grammar errors to watch for go near the top, advice about the ending goes near the... end, duh. General character notes to keep in mind also go near the top.

But basically, I'll be ordering and labeling all of my criticism so I don't have to hunt through multiple reviews or conversations -- this way, the process will hopefully be at least a biiit easier.

This can be done in whatever format is best for you! The most important part is that it's navigable and clear for you to understand.

Credit to @Hattable for catching my typos and helping me reword confusing areas!
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Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:13 am
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Rosendorn says...

I would also argue that you should tailor the types of information you save based on the level of rewrite you're going to do.

I'm of the "the transition from first to second draft is a slash and burn" school of thought. Which means I am going to promptly ignore every grammar nitpick because I'm: 1- very bad at being able to apply grammar fixes to a new context and 2- going to be destroying what the lines were.

But I'm going to find the lines that say "I want to know more of the plot because this is the first time we've seen it in two chapters" or the ones about how they feel nothing flows together, because that's the type of macro comments I need when I'm going for slash and burn.

You have to sort out what you need based on how you approach editing. If you're looking to keep the plot roughly the same, you're going to want to keep more of the wording details than if you're doing a start from scratch.
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