Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Editing, Revisions, Rewrites - do you enjoy it?

What is your favorite part of writing? Do relish the idea of revising, rereading and slashing away?

As I'm not one to reread stories, it was really difficult for me to reread what I wrote, to edit, look for errors. I think I might even be able say that I really hated it. I'm also quite good at reading what I and others intended to say- making it all the more difficult to spot errors.

I think it was Spy who said in a post to write because you love it and revise to be published. It was close to be a ah ha moment for me. When I first started writing stories it was usually by hand a first draft only. I can't imagine how riddled with errors it must have been!

I think for people like Bevie who has read Lord of the Rings - what did you say 10 or was it 100 times, reread wouldn't be a problem.

Actually, I think what I hate more than anything is likely 'copy editing'. It was just too difficult for me to spot errors. When Into This Mind was published, it was all on me to cover all editing so I did pay for an editor, but it really needed more!

I think it would be optimal to write the first draft, then hand it off while I move on to the next.


Tia Nevitt said...

Not me. I intentionally leave a lot of stuff for my second draft. For my current novel, I'm writing a lot of disconnected scenes, because they're the ones that stand out the most in my mind. I'm doing them in order, but I'm leaving everything out in between. Future drafts will be absolutely necessary.

Why this approach? Because I know I'll rewrite a lot anyway. Why do it all up front? Write the key scenes--the ones that are bugging me to be written--then connect them together later. I think there will be less rewriting this way, and I'll have fewer discarded scenes, which tend to happen when I force it, anyway.

I have come to expect my novels to take five drafts. I greatly enjoy the revising process. Actually, I like it all.

Lisa said...

That's a good approach actually.
One of my problems is that I get impatient to get to a scene that I'm really interested in.

I've been fighting a stronger urge to write - I've noticed another issue I have with writing is that fore mentioned impatience. It seems like I'm plodding along at such a horribly slow pace it's hard to stay focused.

I'm worried if I try writing, all the obsessions that I managed to squash will return.

Bevie said...

Actually, I've read Lord of the Rings 200 times.

Rereading isn't so much a problem with me. I love my stories (more than others, alas) and don't mind reading them again at all.

My problem with it is that with every read I find something else to change. I've even changed things back and forth.

I write kind of like Tia Nevitt. Knowing I am going to make massive changes later, I don't worry too much about how things fit together on my original write. I'm just getting the important scenes, information, clues, and what have you out there to gently/roughly massage later.

I don't know if it means less rewriting for me, but it does help me write the original story quickly.

Lisa said...

Oh my - 200 times. I still can't get over that.

perhaps I'll remain a happy Beta reader - I like reading what others have done. Thus far I've been fortunate to have really enjoyed it and hence been able to praise them. Speaking of reading, Bevie, would you still like me to read what you've written?
Although I should ask what it's about first! I'm assuming I'll like it merely because I've enjoyed your blogs, and I like the title of the story and your blog - ha. what a reason to go by!
In any case, it would be behind 2 other items I'm reading (One a published novel, another a beta read. I'm much more excited about the beta read than the novel and now trying to plow through the novel to get to Grim Light.) I don't really like to read more than one piece at a time.

Tia Nevitt said...

Lisa, it looks like my approach will work for you. You're impatient to write a certain scene, so go ahead and write it! When you put the novel together later, it will be like a puzzle piece.

When I wrote Starcaster, I wrote the scene between Tory and Crowley where they almost kissed MONTHS before I inserted it into the novel. I did the same for the scene where they actually kissed.

Bevie said...

The story's an epic fantasy. I talk about it more on The Great Sea and SOF-The People. It's also 136,000-words. Is it still something you're interested in?

I'm going to reread it one more time next week. If you would like, we can set up a way to get it to you after that.


Lisa said...

Bevie, eeehhhh aaahhh comes to mind
Epic, does that mean I'll have lots of sequels that I won't have to wait too long for?
(Tia has me waiting for the next in line to Starcaster and Forging a Legend - isn't she mean . . . imagine her wanting a life and all that - I don't get it.)

Bevie said...

Well, I began Swords of Fire in 1974, so there's a lot of history. There have been several books, most of which have been restarted.

Right now, I have Traitor, which is just finished now. Prophecies of Madatar is finished, but at 190,000-words in need of serious revision.

So, to answer your question, you shouldn't have to wait long for sequels. In theory. But I have a tendency to rewrite dozens of times.

Lisa said...

It's the experience I had with the entire publishing process, it really put me off. Well, that coupled with how horribly and unbearably obsessed I became. Not only wasn't I spending time with friends, I didn't want to, and when I did, I resented it.
I've been quite happy at late.
Oh there was also the fact that 2 english teachers read my book and disliked it so much that they said nothing. must have been pretty bad I'd say - perhaps I should stick to programming and logic problems and being a good beta reader.

Bevie said...

What was your story about?

Lisa said...

Bevie, here's the blurb about my book:
Believing that the newly opened Betta Conservation Land holds many long-forgotten mysteries, Jena eagerly seeks to explore it. In the most unlikely of places, an abandoned ballroom, her intuition is validated as she enters the mind of a young woman named May. Ready to dismiss the experience as a daydream produced by her overactive imagination, Jena is stunned when her best friend, Katri, encourages her to return to the ruined building. Suspecting that Katri knows more than she's telling, Jena follows Katri's advice and finds herself once again inside May's mind. Through repeated visits, Jena discovers a terrible secret involving murder and intrigue. But can she stop it, or will it destroy her?

if it sounds of interest, I'd be happy to send you a complimentary copy.

Tia Nevitt said...

I read Lisa's novel. It was fun and a quick read. I read it all the way through without suffering through any agonizing spots, which is a lot more than I can say for certain traditionally published novels I read over the past year.

I think it suffered from two things--timeliness and a really sucky publisher. Poor Lisa told me all about her publishing experience--not good! As for timliness, the premise just wasn't gritty enough to compete with today's (gag!) urban fantasies. I think my novel (Starcaster) suffers from the same problem.

Lisa said...

Starcaster is such a great story - you think that's it -not gritty enough? Does not gritty mean not sleazy and full of smut?

I have to ask myself, how many wonderful stories have been passed over? Is it that there are that many great stories and not enough publishers to publish them, or the publishers just don't know what they are missing?

Tia Nevitt said...

Lisa, I got a great request for Starcaster on Friday. She said, "This sounds so fun" and asked me to send the complete manuscript.

I think publishers really have to be convinced before they'll take on someone new. And it really, REALLY helps if you know someone. Despite two years of running Fantasy Debut, I can't say I know anyone in the publishing biz.

Lisa said...

Tia - this is wonderful news! Since the agent sees the potential for fun just from your query she should be rewarded once she reads it. The opening chapters are excellent and should really hook her. I'm pulling for you here. It's a great story (so is Forging a Legend) NEVER think otherwise!

You can count on me once your published to help spread the word not to mention buy several copies to give to friends and family.