Revisions

The book signing at Barnes & Noble went well.  I was there for a little over two hours, and there was a steady stream of people.  The bookstore manager told me that it was the most well received book by a local author that they’ve had in years.

Today, I am attending a writing workshop on “Revision: Beyond the First Draft.”  I’m bringing in chapter five of the novel that I’m working on, so I hope that it will be productive.  I’ve written a little over 17,000 words so far, and I already have a fair amount of changes that I want to make to the story.  I sometimes worry about losing my momentum for finishing the book when I get too caught up in rewrites as I go along.

What is your writing process like?  Do you revise as you go along, or do you wait until you’ve completed a story or poem to begin editing and rewriting?  Does your process differ for long projects (such as a book) versus shorter projects?

6 comments

  1. I tend to revise afterwards, after reading a comment by guitarist and famous baldy Joe Satriani, suggesting that the worst thing you can do to your creativity is play critic to what you’re doing as you go along.

  2. I second Stu. I think it is great to go back to something later & look at it with fresh, detached eyes. There were some things I wrote ages ago & thought they were crap, but pulling them out a few years later, I realized they were great. Or, if not great, at least gave me ideas for new pieces.

  3. I actually have to adjust what I said before a little. I don’t go back and revise chapters wholesale before the end, but I do still rejig the scene structure as I go if things don’t seem to be working out. I’ve just done exactly that.

  4. I tend to write my first draft very quickly to get some major events and tone down (the last book was written entirely during NaNoWriMo). Then I go through a plot scrub before the next draft. Write, scrub, write, scrub.

    Congrats on the signing!

  5. If it’s a book then I just keep writing until I get to the end. If it’s an incomplete short story then I fiddle with a word or two while I re-read it and then pick up writing where I stopped.

    Glad to hear the book signing went so well!

  6. John Buchan (39 Steps) said the best thing you can do is view writing as sculpture: first you need a massive block of stone (1st draft) and only after you have that should you begin to craft.
    Just completed a full-length play, and although it was painful, each draft was written completely anew, on blank sheets (ie not ‘over the top’ in Word). It made it a much stronger piece of work, I think.
    Last thought – saw a very lonely author, plonked in the middle of our local Waterstones, waiting to sign, and all alone. Whose fault – her, the agent, the store? [for me, it’s a monologue to be written!]

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