But Enough About Me!

How do you like my dress?

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That's lots of help.

The problem I'm having is seeing the story I've written as others will see it. I also write overlong but I tend to plan the story out ahead, as I find if I don't then I wander far too off-track and end up lost. I also tend to forget that how I see the scene, in terms of landscape/description, in my head doesn't always make it onto the page in the first draft. The dialogue occasionally needs tweeking and some scenes rewriting but for the most part they seem, or at least they did last time, fairly clean.

When I've finished this research proposal I must go back and do another revision.


Yes: the biggest problem for me is getting outside everything I know to write a story that other people can see the things that are most important to me as the writer.

That's fascinating, not least because you seem to start in a similar place to me -- which my writing friends here don't. My revisions seem to involve a lot of retro-fitting, re-tuning and focusing, tidying, and sometimes re-ordering, because I have had similar changes in understanding during the first draft.

I love how writers write so differently.

Of course, now and again you get someone who tells you or implies there is only one correct way to do it, but that is so obviously not true.

"Learning how to let go" - YES! It helps me most to have a good chunk of time in between writing and revising. If that's not possible, working on a new project seems the best thing for me.

I prefer to have time away from an ms but it isn't always possible.

This is interesting. The best is always the enemy of the good.

I wonder if there is, truly, a perfect version of a work?

"A novel is a long prose narrative that has something wrong with it." Randal Jarrell

I'm doubtful there is a perfect version of any novel, anyway. But maybe I have to say that!

Do you need to put it aside to get some distance, or can you start revising as soon as the draft is done?

I prefer to have time to put it aside to get some distance. I don't always have that luxury.

But - as I hope to write about later - I also revise as I go.

I've done a bit of both ways, to tell the truth...I've written straight from start to finish before revising, and I've also revised as I wrote. Each seems to have their pros and cons, I suppose...while the straight-through approach gets the story finished sooner, there's a chance I may need to do some heavy revision on passages that don't work. On the other hand, if I revise as I write, there's the chance I'll dwell too long on a passage and never get it done. Everything in moderation, I guess.

It's an ongoing learning process, come to think of it. It really depends on what story I'm writing. I found Love Like Blood to flow very quickly, partly due to the fact that I didn't have an overwhelming created world like I did with the trilogy, and the revision on that one is mostly focused on the character building and the prose. With the trilogy, there are quite a few levels to it that needed (and still need) work, but having set that one aside for a few years, I'm glad to report that the revision there is much smoother, now that I can see where it needs help.

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<<When I first began writing, writing a first draft was easier than revising. In those days, having to revise seemed like failure. Now, knowing how to revise seems like success.>>

You know, this more than anything else may be what separates the starry-eyed beginner from the experienced writer (even given that we all approach the task of writing differently).

For most of us, revision is where the real writing happens. Revision (and I revise along the way) is how I discover the story, not only its direction and final destination, but all the underlying emotions, motivations, and secrets. Maybe I'm kinesthetic, too, because I have get my hands deep into the words, playing, shaping, rearranging. Sometimes the revision of a single sentence will send the story in an unexpected (and good) direction--something I would have missed entirely if I were steaming ahead through a first draft. Revising as I go forces me to slow down enough to find those hidden turnings.

Getting words down on a blank page is hard for me. Revising is where the magic happens.

I have been speculating for some time whether there is a correlation between kinesthetic learners and kinesthetic writers, the sort who have to get it all down in order to "see" it.


... but more than that I’m a kinesthetic learner, and I’ve come to the conclusion I’m also a kinesthetic writer, so the actual physical act of writing, the interaction of writing, alters the words and the story even as I’m writing as well as before and after.

This this this this this this this this this.

Getting words down on a blank page is hard for me. Revising is where the magic happens.

Also this.

I need something on the page that I can touch and work with. Once it's there, I can transform it--but staying in my head and not letting it be there slows me down, rather than saving me time because I've planned things out.

I haven't planned anything out, until I start writing. I have ideas, sure, but mostly it all happens on the page, which I can dig my hands into something real.

Edited at 2011-04-11 08:22 pm (UTC)

Very well put, Kate. I think you're right that the main part of being a writer is learning how your process works and working within that process. It's always interesting to me to hear about the process for other writers-I love hearing about how each writer's brain works differently when putting together a story.

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