Typically when I write “The End” on a story, that is the beginning of the journey. Revisions and editing are a much longer, and to me, more difficult process than writing. Writing is a lot of fun! Editing? Not so much.
We each have our own methods and our own ways of doing things. I tend to get more granular as I write each draft. Ooops, but hold on. I really need to talk about how I define “draft” here, because it may be different than you think.
In ways my background as a computer nerd come to the surface in my draft numbering scheme. There are two or three components. There is the draft number and then the revision number and often a date-stamp.
I follow normal writing convention by calling my original rough draft “1st draft”. If I were really following the software model, this would be draft “0”.
I change the draft number when there are significant changes, usually end to end. This is typically rewriting chapters, deleting large blocks of text, adding chapters, adding large blocks of text, etc. Of course, as I said, as I go on it gets more granular, so I’m not adding or subtracting chapters at draft five! At that time, it is just a feeling that there have been significant changes since the last draft number. Continue reading
I hate editing.
A few of you may remember my serialized novel, The Old Mill, that I posted a little over two years ago. After finishing the book I decided to put it on the back burner and work on other things for a while. One problem is that there are a few similarities with my book The Halley Branch and I wanted to put some space between the two. So the rough draft, which I had posted here, was sitting, gathering dust. For some reason i couldn’t get the inspiration to pick it up again. In my opinion, the hardest part of writing is doing the second, third, fourth, fifth, etc. drafts. The first draft is the easy, fun part.
A couple of weeks ago I picked it back up and started the next draft. I haven’t made it very far….
The first thing I ran into had to do with names. I changed the name of one character half way through and have already run into both versions of the name. I don’t remember why I changed it and which is the final name. I’m about 90% sure that I will have to make a third version of the name. The problem is, a lot of names run in the main family of the book, so doing a search on the name is only partially helpful. I may hit another character with the same name. Continue reading
About two weeks ago I started a second draft of The Halley Branch, a novel I wrote for the blog in real time in 2015 (I wrote and posted a new chapter every day). Last night I was talking to someone about drafting, and we were thinking slightly different things. I am a little curious on people’s opinions about how to draft. I know, each person does things their own way, like the old arguments about being a Planner or Pantser when writing the first draft, but I am still curious.
I see two major styles of drafting, Old School and Edited Draft. OK, I made up that last one because I didn’t want to call it “The Lazy Way”, particularly since that is my current technique. I’ll give you a definition as to how I see these methods. Continue reading
When you read a story here on Trent’s World, you are usually reading an unedited first draft. Well, maybe not 100% unedited – I usually will take a quick read-through and correct the most obvious mistakes, but it is almost always a first draft. And you know what? I’m fine with that. This is not a literary magazine and most people reading the stories enjoy them. If I spent the time to get them all “publish ready”, I would have posted closer to 20 stories than 200.
I am bringing this up now because I am in the process of doing another read-through of the short stories that will be included in my short story collection. Continue reading
It’s interesting to reflect on how drastically things have changed in the last few decades.
Back in my student days, and those that immediately followed, I used a completely different writing process. Then as now I usually created the idea on a walk. After I worked the idea out in my head I sat down and wrote a first draft in pencil. When finished I read through the draft and made corrections. Whole sections, paragraphs, sentences and blocks of words were marked out or moved. Other text was often written on another piece of paper with a numbering system to help me place it. I then wrote a second draft, which was often very different from the first. This was again written in pencil. Then I would go back and edit again. I very rarely did quite as much of the large scale moving blocks of text around, but then again, sometimes I did. For an important paper I might do one more pencil draft. Depending on where it was to go from there I would finish with a final draft in pen or on the typewriter.
So, back in the day it might take over 30,000 words written in pencil plus another 10,000 written in pen or typed to complete one 10,000 word story. Continue reading