This post is all about tips and strategies you guys have mentioned through various comments on my posts. Whether they’re about point of view, second drafts, or other things, I want to highlight your expertise: the tips you gave that make me question, is there even such a thing as a writing process?
Yesterday, I posted a reflection mainly on what I had learned about blogging from interacting with my followers on my blog. (It was a thank you, in its way, upon reaching 1000 followers through the WordPress reader.)
Those lessons were rather expansive in their coverage…. Today, I wanted to focus on more specialized things people have said in comments here over the last 14 months that have thrown me for a loop and really opened my eyes.
I figure, if I didn’t know these things, maybe other people don’t as well. So it would be cool to share them. Maybe someone will want to experiment a bit in his or her fiction 🙂
If you are responsible for any of this knowledge, I’m grateful, and I’m sorry I can’t give you personalized credit…. I don’t have the time to go back through the comments of hundreds of posts to see who posted what. I don’t remember where these comments are in the backlog…. I just remember what I learned from them.
Feel free to claim credit in the comments here if the lesson came courtesy of you and your writing experience.
- You can write a first draft in a point of view other than the point of view you plan to keep. I would never have realized some people have success writing this way, but some writers apparently do. And I think that’s awesome. Hey, since first person lets you get deep in a character’s psyche, why not draft in first person and then change pronouns to make your novel third person?
- You can rewrite a draft rather than edit it. What the WHAT? I was floored when I read people commenting that they start completely over after penning a first draft. I’ve always edited the first draft I end up with. I would give up entirely before I started again, from scratch, after I had a complete novel sitting before me. But hey, what works for you, works for you.
- Editing can be a great way to build up your style. I have always considered editing a time to simplify, simplify, because first drafts, like our lives, are frittered away by detail (thanks, Thoreau). I simplify sentence and paragraph structure. I simplify lots of things…. Others who prefer a more ornate and flowing style, though, have said they use editing as a chance to embellish, combine, and adorn. How cool is that??? Different styles completely necessitating different approaches to an edit: I love it!
- Daily word count goals can be helpful to some. I avoid daily word count goals because with them, I only focus on the word count and wind up with a lot of fluff and awful writing. (NaNoWriMo taught me this. The hard way. UGH.) Others, though, feel inspired and motivated by setting word count goals. I do set daily goals for myself: to finish a scene, or to plot out a scene, or to take care of this issue in an editing pass. I try not to throw attention on word count when I’m drafting, though.
- Some writers do every edit on pen and paper. EVERY edit. It’s true that pen and paper has some benefits over editing on the screen, but I like how the screen allows me to make instant changes. I save the pen and paper edits for when I reach a proof-copy stage. Everything else is on screen.
- Some people write so prolifically it makes me feel like a no good, horrible, terrible, very bad author. I mean thousands upon thousands of words a day. Three and four novels a year. I just can’t do that, and I don’t need to do that. If you can, and want to aspire to that, and can accomplish that without losing your mind and without producing nothing but swill, then go for it. How fast to write is an individual thing. Our personal goals will vary. Writing faster than someone else doesn’t make you superior; speed isn’t everything, and I do think it’s possible to write too fast. (Again, “too fast” will mean something different for everyone). I just never realized writing that fast is doable for a lot of people.
So, those are my reflections upon the most surprising things I’ve learned from you guys. Thanks for opening my eyes! I’ve even been able to reference some of these facts in my writer’s handbook, and I feel they really make the book more useful for and more inclusive of all writing styles.
Thanks for dropping by! And for your insights.
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