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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 02:35 PM
Original message
Working the Novel...Working it.
I've written two drafts of a novel, and am working the third now. I've learned things about myself that help me fine tune my own writing method.

The First draft hit 103,000 words.
Second Draft hit 104,000 words. I printed the novel, read it through, marked it up and hit a wall. I found the process of entering changes very difficult. That is the way I wrote many college papers, and a number of short stories, but they are all shorter. But reading back through a long paper document is more difficult than I imagined, especially since I deleted about 20,000 words and added about 21,000 better words.

Draft 3: Because the book drags, I made a decision to change the POV from past third to present third. I'm doing it all on the screen, reading each chapter through and making changes as I read. It is coming out much better. Eventually, before I submit, I will need to print the damn thing and read it through aging, but I am gong to delay that until I think it is 10% right on the screen.

What do you guys think?

Cross Posted to DU3
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 09:59 PM
Response to Original message
1. I prefer using a computer for editing over paper.
I made major edits that took a 140,000 word first draft down to 115,00 words (and now down to 90,000) that required a close page by page reading - but I did it on my computer. I have never done paper edits, simply because it always felt too unwieldy and a waste of paper. When I want to make changes, I always want a computer under my fingers. I don't have the patience to work it out in the margins or on the back of the page.

I know it's not always easy to have a computer in front of you, but it always felt like working it out once on paper, then entering that in the computer (plus whatever additional changes I decide to make once I've seen it put together properly) added time over just fixing it in the computer directly. Then again, there's something to be said for giving each edit a second think as you're putting it in the computer.

But it really has to be what works best for you. If you like the feel of good paper in your lap and a good pen in your hand, then that makes all the difference.

Aside from that, tense changes are always frustrating for me because I can easily miss them. For some reason, I plot in present, but then crafted my first novel in past tense. I too often found present tense in the first draft - as did my writers group.

I'd be giving it at least one to two more reads if it were me. Or passing it on to a beta reader specifically to hunt for tense issues.
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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-23-11 10:48 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Thanks, I know I will need at least two more readings.
I have ten people in a writers group who are on tap to read through it for me.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-24-11 07:12 PM
Response to Original message
3. I like printing out and doing my editing on paper if
for no other reason than it preserves the earlier draft. Obviously, you can simply make a full copy and edit there, still retaining the original, but I like working on paper. Plus, I can carry around the paper draft and work on it at random times, which isn't as easy to do even on the laptop.

I also have each chapter in as a separate file, which makes the editing after I've made the changes on paper reasonably easy.
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sybylla Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-25-11 07:47 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. I make electronic copies of all previous versions
Edited on Wed May-25-11 07:49 AM by sybylla
And save all major revisions as a new copy. Learned that the hard way. Wanted to go back once and find language I'd changed or deleted and found it hadn't been saved.

Even then, I have on other occasions also managed to accidentally overwrite (saved an old version over a new version) some absolutely brilliant writing. or at least that's what I thought after it was gone. If I'd had a paper copy, that probably wouldn't have happened.

I, too, keep my chapters separate for easy editing. Then copy them all into a single draft document once they are revised. There I can do word counts and keep an eye on the overall size of the project.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-25-11 07:58 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. It certainly is pretty easy to save previous electronic versions,
but often in the course of editing -- which I as often do on the computer screen, especially if I'm just writing a short story -- it's easy to edit and edit and never print out or save an intermediate version. For me, personally, a marked-up physical copy of my longer stuff works quite well for me.

Not that I'm exactly a successful, famous, rich published author.
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