Remember my post from a couple of weeks ago, “Adventures in Writing“? I told you I was trying to write without going back to edit, that I knew my first chapter in Riding Herd was awful and would need changing, but I intended to forge ahead and fix it later.
I lied. Talk about the whopper of all fish tales!
Aside from the fact the first chapter reeked like fermented catfish bait, it introduced a subplot that no longer fit with the direction the story was taking. Too much going on to weave that thread smoothly into place. It had to go–which meant every reference to it had to go too.
No matter how hard I tried, knowledge of this hovered over my head like a drone with a recorded message: Ain’t gonna work, gal. Give it up. I was completely stymied. I couldn’t go forward unless I dealt with what I’d written in the past (kinda like a sin that needs to be forgiven and rectified before your prayers stop bouncing off the ceiling and you can move on).
I could no longer ignore the need to edit. So, last Friday, I gave up on the idea of writing in haste and editing in leisure. I’ll still edit in leisure once this thing is finished, but the “writing in haste” part bit the dust. I couldn’t stand it any longer. I ripped out the first chapter entirely and reconstructed the second chapter to function in its place. It’ll have to be rewritten and polished, of course, but at least it won’t nag at me as I concentrate on the plot and remaining subplot. Now I’m stripping out all the remnants and dealing with the logistics of dialogue based on its previous existence.
The good news is that I was only a quarter into the story, so it won’t take long to edit out all the bad stuff relating to that one subplot. The bad news is that I’m only a quarter into the story, with a pie-in-the-sky deadline of March 31st to finish–and “finish” here includes my first full edit before I send it to my critters.
But I refuse to give up! Even though I will be gone for two weeks out of the next six, I intend to write the end by March 31. The edit itself may not happen until April, but I still want to have it finished by the end of March.
Hold me accountable, people!
Thanks for your candid articles and encouraging posts on your writing journey. Maybe it’s okay to feel like a total fraud and mess up now and then. Tear it all up and start over. Am I one-hit wonder or a finished-last-but-at-least-I-finished type of writer? Keep working and pushing yourself, because I love your writing!
You’d think after four books, it wouldn’t be quite so much of a challenge. But nobody *really* learns all this. It’s organic. As we grow and learn, our process shifts and changes.
I did discover that the “forge ahead!” method of writing *does* *not* *work* for me.
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Wow! What a goal you’re shooting for. I wish you Godspeed with it. Also, you’ve done the right thing, even though it has made your timeframe tighter. Better to have everything the best it can be and what you’re happy with. Go for it, Linda! 🙂
Thanks, Pearl! I’m going for it. I’ll probably come in wheezin’ and dizzy at the finish line. 😀
Linda, I learned long ago that my inner editor is one stubborn turkey. She refuses to shut up. But then I heard Deb Raney say she begins each writing day by going over the last chapter she wrote the day before. She edits some and gets plunged right back into the story. I decided why play with what works? I don’t edit heavily, like spend lots of time searching for the perfect word. I highlight the word and move on. If I find a chapter was very emotional to write, I won’t edit it the next day. I’ll move on, coming back to it when I’ve recovered from writing it. lol
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Ordinarily I write the same way as you and Deb. It’s my preferred method. What was different this time is that I was trying to put off a major overhaul until I’d finished the manuscript. No can do.
I’ve found I write best when I write slowly. I might only write 500 words in an hour, but they are a pretty good 500. They’ll still need to go back and be edited, but my first draft is so ugly I can’t stand it. And editing what I’ve written before to get me back in the story, does help. Not that I’ve written as much as you! 🙂
Yes. I write scene by scene. When the scene is done, usually I’m done for the day–unless I’m in the *zone*, the heavenly home of productivity that allows me in only once in a blue moon. Otherwise, I slog through one scene at a time.
I wondered if this new way would be faster, but it’s not if I’m stuck and can’t unstick unless I fix what’s buggin’ me.
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Oh, Linda! ((hugs)) I think most of us can sympathize…
Sad, isn’t it? Thanks for the love!