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Writing Progress: Week Ending December 1, 2012

December 5, 2012

It was actually a pretty good week for me, again (all things considered):

Book of M:

  • Background Notes Wordcount: 0 words
  • First Draft Wordcount: 0 words

Story of V:

  • Wordcount: 1,437 words

Grand Total: 1,437 words

I’m pretty happy with that amount of progress.  At this point, with a total of about 3,900 words, the “Story of V” is pretty close to being finished.  I expect I’ll “The End” within another 500 – 1,250 words, give or take.  The end of this short story really is in sight.

What I think is particularly remarkable about the progress I made last week is that I was able to do that while also being pretty decently productive on the old Home Project front.  The last couple weeks have been some of the most productive Home Project weeks for Dear Wife and I that we’ve had in a while.  (Our list of things to do in the Home Project before we can call this done, for now, is still pretty long, but we’re making good progress on it.)   So I’m pretty proud of finding a good balance between writing and other stuff that needs to be done, even if just for a single week.  I don’t expect this next week to be similarly well-balanced.

Now, as you can see, my focus on the short story has come at the cost of forward momentum on “Book of M”.  That’s unfortunate, of course, but that’s how it goes.  In the meantime, I’ve felt really good about the progress I’ve made on “Story of V”.  And I think that bit of time away has reinvigorated my creative faculties, as I have a renewed interest and desire to push ahead with “Book of M”, as well as a new desire and new ideas to go back and fix the parts I’ve already written.

I’m weighing that right now: is it better to forge ahead knowing there are problems with what you’ve written, or update what you’ve written? What if the planned changes to what you’ve already written will alter the course, even if only modestly, in the direction the story will take?  I realize these are questions more relevant to “planners” and “architects” than to other kind of writers, but I’m curious how others of you handle this.

So, today, besides asking about your own projects and what’s up in your life right now, I thought I leave you with those questions.  Do you revise in mid-draft?  Do you hold off on making changes, but write going forward as if you had?  Or do you stick to your plan (if you have one) or stay on course with what you’ve already written, and pick up the pieces later?

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. December 5, 2012 6:33 pm

    Good questions! When I come up with a new idea that could have major impact, I usually think about it for a couple days, follow the threads of story in my head and go over what else might change if it were true. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. If it does look viable, I’ll make a note of what to change in previous chapters, but keep writing the rest as if I’d made that change. I’ll leave those changes to editing time. If I didn’t just keep writing, I’d never make it to the end (but that’s just me).

    Some backwards forwards on the writing front for me. I had gone through 7 chapters, and decided to go back with a different mindset, and redo them. Not so much fun, but the story’s better for it, I think.

    • December 6, 2012 2:03 pm

      Better is better. 🙂 It’s interesting that you take the approach of pressing forward as if you’d made the change. That’s possibly the approach I may be taking, making a note to write a scene that doesn’t exist yet and edit the scenes that would appear around it. (It’ll require some surgery, since the new scene is likely to occur in the middle of an existing scene, so that the existing scene needs to be broken into two separate bits with the new scene intercutting between them.) I’m also contemplating pressing forward up to a certain point, then going back and doing a single round of revising on the existing draft, then pressing ahead again from that point until the finish.

  2. December 6, 2012 3:41 am

    Definitely finish the first draft before editing otherwise you will be forever trying to hit a moving target

    • December 6, 2012 2:05 pm

      Yeah, that’s the main thing I’m worried about is getting stuck in rewrite/revise hell in which a complete draft is never finished. At the same time… it’s hard when you know that what you’ve written isn’t going to work as-is, and you’ve already thought of a way to fix it. When I work on short fiction this isn’t as much of a problem because I’ll have finished the first draft usually before I discover and/or think of solutions to the problems in the draft. With this novel-length work, that’s turning out not to be the case.

  3. December 6, 2012 8:01 am

    If you read the History of Middle-Earth series, you find that Tolkien started (and revised) a lot of drafts of the early parts of LoTR before he ever got to the end. There are a lot of different ways to get there.

    Me, I write serially (as you know), so I draft and revise and revise and edit each section before I post it. Then, when it’s posted (and basically set in stone, other than typos), I start to write the next section.

    • December 11, 2012 1:49 pm

      Yeah, the experience of Tolkien is pretty interesting. For instance, the rest of his Legendarium – the Silmarillion, et al – was in constant revisions pretty much until he passed on. That’s instructive in more than one way, I think. What lesson an author takes, I think, depends on said author’s artistic and career goals.

  4. December 8, 2012 9:57 am

    After talking to a lot of authors recently, I’ve found that although they have different processes and ways of writing, they all agree on one thing: Don’t revise until you’ve finished. Yes, I know there are exceptions to this (as per Anthony’s comment), but it’s a pretty good rule of thumb. So write on as if you’ve made the changes, and make yourself some notes about what you’ve changed, so you remember it when you get to revision.

    As one of the authors said to me: Image if marathon runners stopped after 1km because they weren’t happy with their time, and just kept running the beginning all over again.

    • December 11, 2012 1:52 pm

      Well, yes, the allusion to running a marathon is pretty stark. But at the same time… how much, exactly, is writing a novel like running a marathon? And how is it different?

      I think I’m leaning towards a middle-ground, where I’ll go back and add those scenes at some future point, but likely before I’ve finished a complete first draft. Enough to feel that I haven’t broken momentum.

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