Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Getting over the hump

Sweet victory. I crossed over the 30k word hump in my WIP last week. This time around it feels ever sweeter considering I've been revising as I go. (thank you, Miranda!) With how extensive and often I revised the last story I really love the idea of having less at the end. Editing is one thing but revising huge portions of the same story is not my favorite way to spend my time. I can't imagine it is for anyone.

The other thing I'm doing differently now is waiting to have my regular readers read later on when I'm near or completely finished. Even with the reader who's helping me as I go I'm waiting to share larger chunks of chapters. It's been strange to pull back with someone like my sister who is used to reading something from my WIP on a daily basis. A lot of times I want to bring up something about the story but hold my tongue so I don't spoil anything. And I miss chatting with my other critique partners about my characters and plot and all that good stuff, but I know it will be worth it to have them read it start to finish with fresh eyes and give me feedback as a reader in addition to their writing critique.

If it keeps going well I think I may have found my new writing method. But one thing I can't imagine changing is my fabulous readers/critique partners help.

I'm curious to hear what methods you all use while you're writing a first draft?


Jay said...

Interesting post. I can't imagine making large revisions along the way.

I'm in a YA critique group on writing.com, and I post my WIP chapters for the group as I write them. With my last novel, I started to revise those chapters based on feedback while still writing latter chapters until I couldn't stand getting on and off the hamster wheel every five minutes. Weird, analogy I know.

Eventually, I just collected and saved the remaining critiques, and then used them for my second draft. On my current WIP (98% done... please let me make it), I've saved the critiques from the start and won't revise based on them until I'm ready for draft #2.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

CONGRATS! I let my betas read some of my scenes before the first draft was done and it def helped get ideas flowing.

Keep up the great progress. :)

Jennifer Walkup said...

Great post! I usually wait until I'm done with the draft to pass along to other readers as well. And congrats on crossing the 30K mark.

Kevin McGill said...

Caution: These are the thoughts of an unpublished author.

On sharing content - personally, I stopped sending content to readers for critique for the first draft. It was messing with me. I think there is a magic to going in your literary cave and spinning your first draft all by yourself. It's HARD too. You crave that affirmation that comes with the critique. But my writing suffers when I'm writing to please someone, instead of honestly telling the story. Now, 2nd, 3rd, 4th drafts are up for grabs.

On revising - I am starting to appreciate outlining because I have to revise very little by the end. Most plot changes are made in the outline. I wrote the first part of my book purely stream of consciousness. It was a mistake. I'm a sucker for "what will appeal to audiences" instead of just telling the story. Without an outline, I was weak, and kept choosing plot twists that a reader would want. The story was an unforgivable mess. Therefore, I had to completely rewrite my first 200 pages. Outlining kept me confident and focused on the story.
I've also discovered that outlining isn't REALLY outlining - at least not in the sterile, unimaginative form we perceive it to be. It turns out to be more like the ancient form of story telling. So, I write a condensed form of my story that feels more like Beowulf or biblical narrative, then just convert it into a novel.
Good luck with your craft.