Monday, August 20, 2007

The Method to the Madness

John Baker, a UK writer has posted some interesting pieces on the writing processes of different working authors. Once again, it’s nice to know that all writers have their own particular methods and habits. Check out this one from Jenny Davidson, and this one from Sandra Scoppettone.


Jenny Davidson describes a process that's very close to the one I've followed so far with my new WIP.

How much of the draft do you write before you go back and start editing?

15 comments:

squidlet said...

Typically, I have a hard time getting through a page without going back over it. I do feel like its a little stunting, though, and its something I'd like to break myself of.

Carleen Brice said...

Adding you to my links! :-)

Patti said...

i write the entire draft on legal pads in pencil and then do at least two edits...at least...

i never go back as i am writing or else i'd never finish. i just roll with the story and then go back and read it...then start with the edits.

only once did i write the entire story on the computer and that was for a competition so i had no time for the legal pad route. i may try that again as it saved me countless hours of transcribing...

kristen said...

I never stop going back and that may account for the fact that my progress is very slow. It's not the most efficient way, but I seem unable to do anything else.

Lisa said...

Squidlet, Thanks for stopping in and welcome! I guess it's all a matter of deciding if the editing is productive or if it's just allowing you to procrastinate :) I'm still feeling my way, but I've been editing the first several draft chapters I've written to prepare for a critique and every day I'm finding things that I really do think are making it better.

Carleen, Well thanks -- and I'll have that photo to you TODAY.

Patti, I envy you being able to keep going until you're done. I started out doing everything on the computer, but I've found that although I lose something in speed by hand writing, I do gain something else in the physical act of writing it.

Kristen, I'm inclined to be the same way, although there are definitely times when I think of a scene or a part of a scene or something new that needs to be tackled and the sensation of the free flow of the new words approaches something akin to -- bliss :)

Leatherdykeuk said...

I start with a rough plot and add detail as I go along. I use a program called "Write It Now" to keep track of all the details and characters. It seems to work. I never read it back until I've finished the first draft.

Lisa said...

Rachel (see, I've been paying attention at Liz Fenwick's :)), I don't know how you and Patti can do it. I am so obsessive, I don't think I can get past more than ten pages without reading and tweaking. I just can't do it. It's just like hitting that annoying "recount" button in word about every 30 minutes -- I'm like a rat in a maze, looking for a treat! Of course my inability to keep moving forward, without going back to worry about what I've already written probably explains a lot about why I have not yet finished a manuscript...hmm.

iyan and egusi soup: said...

it's always so affirming to learn that writers approach their works in varying ways. it reminds us that we can be ourselves, throughout the pursuit.

Lisa said...

iyan and egusi soup, I am so relieved to know there is no "right" way, and I'm also happy that I feel like I'm finally getting into a process that feels comfortable for me.

Carleen Brice said...

I do the bare bones first draft on the computer, print the pages and write all over them. I also sometimes jot notes in a notebook that I carry with me AT ALL TIMES. And when I do I always write sideways. What's up with that? I don't know, but it's very freeing. And I'm always editing as I go (even lightly). Can't help it.

Larramie said...

What focused concentration it must take to not reread or rewrite along the way, I simply can't imagine.

Lisa said...

Carleen, Now that sounds like an approach I could live with. By the way, I saw "Age ain't Nothing but a Number" when I was at Lighthouse for a workshop tonight and I just ordered it. It looks fantastic!

Larramie, I'm with you. I really admire the drive it takes to plow through and not look back until...I just have to fiddle ever few pages.

reality said...

I write on the computer though I am wondering about this. I do take notes for later incorporation.
However I tend to go all the way to the finish. That is when I start edits.
I do rad the words I wrote the day before just to ensure that I am on the right path.

iyan and egusi soup: said...

carleen,

i just started carrying a notebook in my handbag! i find this so helpful--it helps me remember much more than i would without it.

Judy Merrill Larsen said...

I try to get the whole thing down--then I can revise. I write the first draft in longhand, but then each afternoon I enter it into the documnet on my laptop--that's my first edit. When I sit down to write each day, I reread what I wrote the day before so I can get back into "the moment." Maybe every 100 pages I reread from the start and tweak.

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Literary Quote

It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.


Virginia Woolf