The Coffee Shop - JUNE

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Claudie
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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Claudie » June 14th, 2012, 11:52 am

Out of curiosity, what do you guys mean by rewrites? Like, when do you consider you are editing, and when are you rewriting? In my case half the scenes are completely new, so I might as well be calling it a first draft. As for scenes that existed, I read through them once then set it aside and never look back. In other words I'm pretty much rewriting from beginning to end without more than a glance at the other version.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

Sommer Leigh
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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 14th, 2012, 2:11 pm

Claudie wrote:Out of curiosity, what do you guys mean by rewrites? Like, when do you consider you are editing, and when are you rewriting? In my case half the scenes are completely new, so I might as well be calling it a first draft. As for scenes that existed, I read through them once then set it aside and never look back. In other words I'm pretty much rewriting from beginning to end without more than a glance at the other version.
Sometimes I accidentally interchange these concepts because I sometimes do both at the same time, or one kind of forces the other. But generally I define them as:

Rewrite: You've sat down and realized there's a significant problem in the story structure, plot, etc of work you've *already* written. Whole scenes, chapters, characters, plot lines, subplots need to be removed, added, or retooled. Rewriting is a significant change to finished writing and it's done with purpose. When I say "finished" I do not mean "Final Draft." Rewriting can take place any time, but it almost always takes place in some form after a first draft is entirely completed because that's usually when you realize you dropped a subplot or a character or something somewhere. Some writers can keep going when they know a rewrite of a certain piece of their manuscript needs to be done. Some writers have to stop and do the rewrite as soon as it becomes apparent. I think both are fine (so long as you eventually finish.) The rewriting part is usually not the hard part, it's usually figuring out WHAT and HOW to do the rewrite that totally sucks the life out of you.

Editing: Everything else falls under editing. Usually line by line, word changes, adding or deleting word count, fixing grammar issues, fixing tense issues. I usually just call this work "clean up" work because that's what it feels like. It's polishing and also perfecting and making you sound like a less rambly crazy person. Though rewriting is a form of editing, usually when I talk about them I put the big story rewrites under "Rewriting" and the small, polishing, tightening work under "Editing."

Also, I have to stop and go back to do a major rewrite of some portion before I can continue forward. I can put editing off and go forward without too much heartache.
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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Mark.W.Carson » June 14th, 2012, 2:40 pm

For me, if the issue is not a word choice here or there, or can be fixed by changing a few sentences, I will redo the chapter, as my chapters are usually one to three scenes, and no more, with a continuous flow to keep them together.

That means my chapters are seldom over 9 pages.

During an edit session, I fix grammatical mistakes, word choices, and fix minor problems.
Otherwise, I will rewrite the scene, add description, change the exposure of emotions, etc. I can usually do 2-4 chapters in a sitting this way, and rewrites tend to go faster than initials, though that is not always the case.

I'm on my 22nd chapter now, including chapters that did not exist prior, which is another reason why I have had rewrites. the "My story is so broken" parts are gone, and I do it more for clarity than anything else.

I may change things, and in order to keep cohesion, I will rewrite them once I have things down. I am less apt to say "screw this, I must rewrite to go forward," now and will often keep going, but log the things that need changing. I've added new areas, changed problems, etc, and I will go back and fix them, knowing I have the ability to do so.

Also, despite many people disagreeing with this, I believe it is good to have alpha/beta readers before the story is over, because it helps to not go off into a corner that is nearly impossible to get out of, if you can catch the problem early on and fix only a few chapters rather than a book.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by dios4vida » June 14th, 2012, 2:54 pm

I consider rewrites to be anything where you change more than you leave. If your chapter of 3,000 words is 2,000 new, that's a rewritten chapter. But if you went through with minor changes, and only 500 of those words are new, that's just an edit.

Obviously there are exceptions to this (as there are to everything in writing!) but that keeps it relatively simple for me.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Claudie » June 14th, 2012, 2:58 pm

Cool stuff. :) I was sitting there and trying to imagine what you guys were going through writing-wise and was all "are their rewrites like my rewrites"? I love to hear how others work. Sometimes it helps with my own, too.

And Brenda, sounds like a good rule of thumb.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by wilderness » June 15th, 2012, 10:10 pm

I had the worst writer's malaise yesterday. I don't know if it was writer's block but it was just like "I can't do it. I can't finish this book." Strangely enough, I woke up this morning and felt totally different. The sun was shining and the bees were buzzing. I outlined the last few chapters, deleted the last crappy scene I'd written on Wednesday, and then proceeded to write away. I really don't know what caused that sudden panic. Maybe June gloom was just getting to me. Anyone else get this?

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CharleeVale
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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by CharleeVale » June 15th, 2012, 10:31 pm

Ugh. Guys. GUYS!

I'm in need of some encouragement. I know that may seem strange given all the great news that I've been sprouting over at the Squee thread, but this WIP is not behaving. My last book was so easy to write, as writing books go. It felt effortless, and it was truly enjoyable. I couldn't wait to sit down and work on it.

It's not like that with this WIP. This one is HARD. I find myself procrastinating because every time I sit down to write, getting words out is like pulling teeth. I love the concept, and I truly believe that it will end up being a fantastic book. I just don't know why it's so difficult. Writing has never been this difficult! Ugh!

It's so weird that I can be so encouraged in the agent search and so discouraged in the actual writing.

CV

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Mark.W.Carson » June 16th, 2012, 12:02 am

Char,

Forcing writing is never good. Allow yourself a break. Your mind is clearly telling you it needs to reconcile things about the WIP. Every time I have forced things, I have had massive rewrites and problems. Then, I'd say "I'm taking a week off on this." Within a few days, I'd be screaming back to my keyboard, because I'd have some massive clarity moment and then have to jot it down. Once in a while, it would come at 1AM, waking me up and making me go downstairs after arguing with myself about how well I'd remember it (Sometimes, I lose that one, and it sucks).

Writing is not a sprint. It's not a marathon. Marathon runners know where the finish line is. We run until the running's done.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Claudie » June 16th, 2012, 12:15 am

I think Mark has a point in that perhaps if you've had trouble with writing anything for this WIP, it might be because you can feel there's something wrong with it. I'm not sure I'd advise leaving it away completely for a week, though. There's plenty of others things you can also try.

Some things I do when I get stuck on new ideas is that I take a pen and paper (it just flows better that way for me) and that I do --building. Worldbuilding. Character building. Story building. I'll write entire scenes from the characters' backstory that aren't meant to go in the novel but that help me with their voices, with who they are. I start answering questionnaires, I do the interview things, etc. I just work on it with pretty much every exercise I can get my hands on (starting with Maass, most often) to get the juice flowing. And I do the same not just with characters, but also with the world or the possible story lines (like, I try to think of many different possible plotlines and brainstorm the heck out of them)

One of the reason this helps is that there is NO pressure to write something good. You're just having fun with your novel. And it sounds like maybe that's part of your problem. Like when you sit down to write that awesome scene but everything comes out wrong and it's so frustrating! But the more frustrated you get, the worst the writing becomes. And I'm thinking maybe if you explore and play with your novel, characters, concept, structure, etc. a bit more, it'll all become more familiar and, with hope, easier.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Mark.W.Carson » June 16th, 2012, 12:40 am

Well, I think I have lasted the entire week about two times in a year, and that was when the project had significantly more holes in it than it does now. Originally, I had a high level concept and not much else, and now I have pretty much everything except a few character traits for ancillary characters.

If your brain knows you don't have to do anything for a week (ok, maybe not YOUR brain), then it relaxes, and usually solves the problem on its own. Normally, that means I'll go back to it after a couple of days, because I take the pressure off.

And... I often take larger breaks between writing. I definitely don't write every day, but most days I do write, I get an entire chapter... or four done (pending rewrite). Each chapter is anywhere from 900 - 2200 words, so on a good day, I can bang out over 6K words.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Claudie » June 16th, 2012, 1:18 am

Ah! You and I don't work the same at all, then. :) When I stop for a few days, I find it very hard to start again. On the other hand, if I write every day I quickly hit a cruising speed, which only keeps getting better (with a few notable hard days). It's why when things really don't work out, I prefer to try another angle and go wild brainstorming on a side sheet. I do most of my "working out the story" either that way, with pen/paper, or in my mind right before I fall asleep or when I laze in bed in the morning.
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Mark.W.Carson » June 16th, 2012, 8:49 am

I wish I could write more often (though given the opportunity, I tend to waste time). I have a full time job that takes a significant amount of my attention, as well as a family. I get to work on my project a couple of nights a week. I guess I just figured out a way to make that happen.

The funny part is that my young daughter (turns 4 this summer) has already started emulating me, because she will use one of my old keyboards in her play kitchen and tell me she's writing a book.

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by dios4vida » June 16th, 2012, 9:54 am

wilderness wrote:I had the worst writer's malaise yesterday. I don't know if it was writer's block but it was just like "I can't do it. I can't finish this book." Strangely enough, I woke up this morning and felt totally different. The sun was shining and the bees were buzzing. I outlined the last few chapters, deleted the last crappy scene I'd written on Wednesday, and then proceeded to write away. I really don't know what caused that sudden panic. Maybe June gloom was just getting to me. Anyone else get this?
Yes. Yes yes yes. Sometimes I think my family believes I'm going insane (and folks who put up with me on a certain writer's forum, as well) because I'll flip flop like that on occasion. More often with this novel than my others. Some days it's like I can't write to save my life, I'll never finish this darn thing, I might as well trunk it now and then within the next day or two I'm zipping off the most perfect chapters I could possibly hope for. I don't understand it, but you aren't alone. :)
CharleeVale wrote:This one is HARD. I find myself procrastinating because every time I sit down to write, getting words out is like pulling teeth. I love the concept, and I truly believe that it will end up being a fantastic book. I just don't know why it's so difficult. Writing has never been this difficult! Ugh!
Yup. So hear you on that one. I've felt the exact same way with this book. Shoot, y'all have had to listen to me so much on this I'm worried you're all starting to ignore me and wish the melodramatic bipolar prima donna Brenda would just shut up. (I'm not normally like this with my writing!)

Some books are just like that. Writing them is the hardest thing in the world to do and you can't figure out why. Janice Hardy was just talking on her blog about how the second book of her Healing Wars trilogy, Blue Fire, was the hardest book she's ever written. She rewrote it five times before she thought it was a halfway decent first draft. And on Writer Unboxed, someone (don't remember who) was talking about writing The Impossible Book because she's having a terrible time getting it right, too. Why? Who knows. But we all run into these 'nemesis' type novels.

Just stick with it. Keep writing, even when nothing is right. A bad sentence may spark something better, which sparks something even better, which will become the key you need to actually get it down and get it right.
mark54g wrote:Writing is not a sprint. It's not a marathon. Marathon runners know where the finish line is. We run until the running's done.
I love this. It's so perfect, and so very true. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Claudie
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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Claudie » June 16th, 2012, 11:23 am

She rewrote it five times before she thought it was a halfway decent first draft.
Whoa, wait, I thought rewriting 5 times before you get a decent first draft was normal! Oops... ;)
"I do not think there is any thrill [...] like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." -- Nikola Tesla

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Re: The Coffee Shop - JUNE

Post by Sommer Leigh » June 16th, 2012, 1:42 pm

Claudie wrote:
She rewrote it five times before she thought it was a halfway decent first draft.
Whoa, wait, I thought rewriting 5 times before you get a decent first draft was normal! Oops... ;)
Wait wait...who said first drafts were supposed to be decent?!?!? Their whole purpose in this world is to suck extremely well.
May the word counts be ever in your favor. http://www.sommerleigh.com
Be nice, or I get out the Tesla cannon.

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