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Old 06-23-2014, 04:13 PM View Post #1 (Link) Scotty's New Method of Writing
ScottyMcGee (Offline)
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We all have different ways of writing our stuff, however method that is. But this is for those who really struggle getting stuff down and editing in some efficient manner.


I'm personally somewhat aligned with Hemingway's style of "write drunk, edit sober."

But "editing" is a very broad term. There are many different ways to edit and revise. For the longest time, I edited by printing out every page and reading everything line-by-line.

I then realized this was not only tedious but also discouraged me. I'd think too much about different plots or how other stuff out there is better than this, etc, etc, etc.

So then I thought of adding some steps in between.

1. "Drunken writing" - This is really the biggest hurdle. I don't mean to literally fill yourself with booze and start writing. I've never done that. Some of you might but hey if that works - whatever, man. What I mean by "drunken writing" is to write without any care of plot, development, or characterization. Just go and write what's on your mind even if it's terrible. Because it's okay to be terrible. If you suddenly decide to make a plot twist that wouldn't make sense with what you wrote so far JUST KEEP GOING anyway. Mark it though, and then keep going.

2. Outlining - So you have such and such number of pages of unfiltered thoughts. What do you do now? If you're going to edit by reading through or scrolling down each page, that's going to not only be time-consuming but fill you with doubt as you realize how unfiltered this is.

Instead, I suggest outlining. After you shat out all this stuff, you would want to make sense of it. Zoom out of the mess, breathe, and ask questions. What do I really want to say here? How should I organize these chapters/sections? What is my vision? What's the immediate point I want to get at? You eventually create a bullet point list of what you want to happen.

3. Reorganization - You have your outline down, now what? Now you go through the story but don't read everything line-by-line. See how it correlates with your outline, and everything that doesn't jive with it - DON'T DELETE - instead, cut it out and paste it on another document. This document will be like your "Deleted Scenes" from a movie (or who knows, maybe you want to put them back in again.)

4. First Wave of Line Editing - Now you can finally do a line-by-line. Now that you have gathered some sense of it all, go through the actual prose and do your grammar corrections or maybe beef up the writing, etc.

5. Second Wave of Line Editing - I would suggest then to post it here on YWO! Once all that is processed in the above steps, see what your peers say about it.

After that, it's pretty much up in the air. Continue hammering it until it's polished. Sometimes you might need a massive revision, in which case you might need to repeat part of the sequence.

I found that this not only works for novels or other big ideas, but short stories as well. Short stories may not have chapters per se, but definitely different scenes.
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Old 06-23-2014, 06:53 PM View Post #2 (Link)
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Outlining is probably something I need to do more of. I don't struggle with it as much in my short stories because, well, they're short and easier for me to handle. But in a novel it's so easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Fortunately, with my most recent manuscript, I've got a lot of good ideas for how to organize and fix things.
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:45 PM View Post #3 (Link)
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ooh! I like this. I was taught to outline first, then write. Which didn't work in the least. I hate outlines.
But I never thought to switch the order
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Old 06-23-2014, 11:05 PM View Post #4 (Link)
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I figured outlining can be annoying to do first. I found writing a very weird hobby in that I found it better to run before you walk. Go crazy first, then get serious. Otherwise, you'll be thinking about it all day and not write anything down.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:02 AM View Post #5 (Link)
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Oh, I outline first, but even still a first draft takes on a life of its own. A second outline, when you have a better idea of what the story is, is probably even more useful.
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:07 AM View Post #6 (Link)
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On my current WIP, I got maybe 15000 words in before I decided to outline. Considering I've reached that word count with other WIPs before, and they didn't pan out, I'm starting to think writing a few dozen pages and then outlining might be my way to go. It gives me the joy of worldbuilding by pantsing at first, but then I end up having a plan to follow for the more boring to write middle bits. Though I still only outline very loosely.

Also, I tried drunk writing once. Didn't feel any different (drink responsibly, kids)
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Old 06-24-2014, 12:44 AM View Post #7 (Link)
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Originally Posted by ScottyMcGee View Post

1. "Drunken writing" - This is really the biggest hurdle. I don't mean to literally fill yourself with booze and start writing. I've never done that. Some of you might but hey if that works - whatever, man.
I've done this with poetry and as you'd expect the result is not pretty. Would not recommend.

I like your non-literal interpretation, though. And outlining after you get a whole bunch on the page is a good idea. I'm trying that with an essay right now and it's sort of working, maybe (you will all be able to tell me in a few days whether it worked). I wrote a whole bunch of impressions down in my journal and then reread it and asked "what the hell am I trying to say with this?". I think that was helpful for coming up with a main point and a frame for my ramblings.
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Old 07-23-2014, 06:54 PM View Post #8 (Link)
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i like this, think i'll try it next time i start writing something
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