About my revision process

I am finally approaching the end of my WIP (work in progress). For those of you with a score card, this is Draft #7. I have never done a novel in fewer than seven drafts. I sure do wish I could, but so far the slow and tedious route seems to work for me. I started this book in January, 2005. I had to take several long breaks away from it for school visit travel, and some family concerns.

I am a fluid writer, meaning that during the early drafts I go where the character wants to go. I don’t force myself to follow an outline. Outlines bore me, so I don’t use them, though I know a number of authors who can’t imagine working without one. I use the early drafts to get to know the characters and to focus on the voice of the narrator. Then I work on structure – what happens, and what happens next, and what happens next.

In this book, working with the structure of the novel has been a fascinating ride. I think I finally have the right course…. ask me in a couple days and I’ll know for sure. At this point I think I’ve written and thrown out nearly four hundred pages. It used to kill me to do that. I’d moan and gnash my teeth and tear out my hair and stomp my feet. I got over it. All of those pages were necessary to help me figure out who my MC (main character) is and what he wants. It does not matter how many pages you write. Anybody can write pages. What matters is that you select the right scenes, with the best balance of action, dialog, and narration, to unfold your story in the strongest way possible. If I could find a way to do that in one or two drafts, trust me – I would. But slow and steady seems to be my lot in life.

Once this draft is done, I’ll put it away for a few days. When I pull it back out, I will edit it for consistency issues (though I think I’ve already taken care of most of those) and language; making sure that I’ve described things well, and that the dialog doesn’t run on too absurdly long. Then I’ll send it to my editor and pace nervously (def. a challenge on crutches) for the verdict.

What other revision questions do you have?

147 Replies to “About my revision process”

    1. It’s been different for each book. With my old writers group, I only brought in a couple chapters to read over the course of the writing of the novel, to get a sense of what they thought of the voice and if the situation was compelling. The size of our group and the format of our meetings made bringing an entire novel unwieldy.

      I have a couple people who will get to read this last, working draft. I trust them enormously and will take their comments seriously.

      1. Revisions Questions:

        1. How do you know when you’re finished-finished?
        2. Do you ever have a character that you adore but early readers dislike? If so, how do you react to suggestions?
        3. How many paces does sdn require before she gets back to you with notes? 🙂

        1. 1, I am never finished-finished. It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published because I want to keep revising them.

          2. This has never happened. I take suggestions seriously because I respect the sources. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.

          3. It depends on her schedule. She is incredibly busy, like all editors. When I submit something to her, she tells me how long it will take til I’ll hear back from her and she always honors that commitment. When I started out as a slush pile author (I did not submit to Sharyn then, BTW) it was common for me to wait six months minimum to hear back about my unsolicited manuscripts.

  1. It’s been different for each book. With my old writers group, I only brought in a couple chapters to read over the course of the writing of the novel, to get a sense of what they thought of the voice and if the situation was compelling. The size of our group and the format of our meetings made bringing an entire novel unwieldy.

    I have a couple people who will get to read this last, working draft. I trust them enormously and will take their comments seriously.

  2. It’s been different for each book. With my old writers group, I only brought in a couple chapters to read over the course of the writing of the novel, to get a sense of what they thought of the voice and if the situation was compelling. The size of our group and the format of our meetings made bringing an entire novel unwieldy.

    I have a couple people who will get to read this last, working draft. I trust them enormously and will take their comments seriously.

  3. Gee, since you asked:

    Do you use a particular form or checklist or plotmap during the revision process? I.e., do you complete a scene or chapter summary and then look at how it goes together, or do you simply do a read-through and ink it up?

    Do you do separate revision passes to look for the macro issues of story arc and then the detail of word choice, or is it one big, integrated revision for you?

    I’m always interested in hearing the processes of other writers, particularly when I’m only a novice at the novel process.

  4. Gee, since you asked:

    Do you use a particular form or checklist or plotmap during the revision process? I.e., do you complete a scene or chapter summary and then look at how it goes together, or do you simply do a read-through and ink it up?

    Do you do separate revision passes to look for the macro issues of story arc and then the detail of word choice, or is it one big, integrated revision for you?

    I’m always interested in hearing the processes of other writers, particularly when I’m only a novice at the novel process.

    1. Ummm…. my process is fairly messy. I have created “scene summaries” to make sure the threads of the plot unfold in good order. I summarize each scene in a sentance like: “She finally talks to him in homeroom.” and list all of the scenes in the order of the book. At that point, things get moved around.

      I am constantly reading through the entire book. I’ve probably read this one a couple hundred times at this point. Once this draft is done, I’ll be a little more disciplined and say, “OK, this is a word-choice read through. OK, this is an emotional arc read through. OK, this read-through is to make sure the sub-plot is in order.”

      Does that make any sense?

  5. Gee, since you asked:

    Do you use a particular form or checklist or plotmap during the revision process? I.e., do you complete a scene or chapter summary and then look at how it goes together, or do you simply do a read-through and ink it up?

    Do you do separate revision passes to look for the macro issues of story arc and then the detail of word choice, or is it one big, integrated revision for you?

    I’m always interested in hearing the processes of other writers, particularly when I’m only a novice at the novel process.

  6. Revisions Questions:

    1. How do you know when you’re finished-finished?
    2. Do you ever have a character that you adore but early readers dislike? If so, how do you react to suggestions?
    3. How many paces does sdn require before she gets back to you with notes? 🙂

  7. Revisions Questions:

    1. How do you know when you’re finished-finished?
    2. Do you ever have a character that you adore but early readers dislike? If so, how do you react to suggestions?
    3. How many paces does sdn require before she gets back to you with notes? 🙂

    1. Very very off-topic and for that I deeply apologize but…I’m in love with your icon 😀

      And thanks for the revision advice, Laurie! It is very insightful!

  8. 1, I am never finished-finished. It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published because I want to keep revising them.

    2. This has never happened. I take suggestions seriously because I respect the sources. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.

    3. It depends on her schedule. She is incredibly busy, like all editors. When I submit something to her, she tells me how long it will take til I’ll hear back from her and she always honors that commitment. When I started out as a slush pile author (I did not submit to Sharyn then, BTW) it was common for me to wait six months minimum to hear back about my unsolicited manuscripts.

  9. 1, I am never finished-finished. It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published because I want to keep revising them.

    2. This has never happened. I take suggestions seriously because I respect the sources. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I don’t.

    3. It depends on her schedule. She is incredibly busy, like all editors. When I submit something to her, she tells me how long it will take til I’ll hear back from her and she always honors that commitment. When I started out as a slush pile author (I did not submit to Sharyn then, BTW) it was common for me to wait six months minimum to hear back about my unsolicited manuscripts.

  10. Ummm…. my process is fairly messy. I have created “scene summaries” to make sure the threads of the plot unfold in good order. I summarize each scene in a sentance like: “She finally talks to him in homeroom.” and list all of the scenes in the order of the book. At that point, things get moved around.

    I am constantly reading through the entire book. I’ve probably read this one a couple hundred times at this point. Once this draft is done, I’ll be a little more disciplined and say, “OK, this is a word-choice read through. OK, this is an emotional arc read through. OK, this read-through is to make sure the sub-plot is in order.”

    Does that make any sense?

  11. Ummm…. my process is fairly messy. I have created “scene summaries” to make sure the threads of the plot unfold in good order. I summarize each scene in a sentance like: “She finally talks to him in homeroom.” and list all of the scenes in the order of the book. At that point, things get moved around.

    I am constantly reading through the entire book. I’ve probably read this one a couple hundred times at this point. Once this draft is done, I’ll be a little more disciplined and say, “OK, this is a word-choice read through. OK, this is an emotional arc read through. OK, this read-through is to make sure the sub-plot is in order.”

    Does that make any sense?

  12. pages

    What do you mean by 400 pages? Like 400 pages on the computer, single-spaced font 10, or writing, or what? I am a bit of a novice writer myself, and throwing out even 2 double-spaced pages kills me.

  13. pages

    What do you mean by 400 pages? Like 400 pages on the computer, single-spaced font 10, or writing, or what? I am a bit of a novice writer myself, and throwing out even 2 double-spaced pages kills me.

    1. Re: pages

      Yes, 400 pages, printed on my printer, Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced. It’s not as a big a deal as it sounds. Making stuff up comes fairly easily to me.

      1. Re: pages

        Haha that’s wonderful. I took a neurology/linguistics class this semester, and research shows that typing makes you use both sides of your brain (each hand is connected to the opposing hemisphere) and thus you think differently about what you are trying to say, instead of writing, which is a half-brained operation, haha.
        Thanks for answering! Hearing about your 400 thrown-out pages made me go “wow!” I know I need to write more, and it gives me hope to know that it’s ok to throw out a ton of work if it helps you figure your characters out.

        1. Re: pages

          That’s fascinating about typing! I hate writing in long hand because my hand can’t keep up with my brain…and the hand starts hurting quickly. I love writing on a computer keyboard, didn’t realize I was using both sides of my brain!

        2. Re: pages

          wow! totally didn’t know that about typing and using both sides of your brain…i should type more, maybe my short stories will be better! lol =) xoxo Isabel

  14. pages

    What do you mean by 400 pages? Like 400 pages on the computer, single-spaced font 10, or writing, or what? I am a bit of a novice writer myself, and throwing out even 2 double-spaced pages kills me.

  15. Re: pages

    Yes, 400 pages, printed on my printer, Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced. It’s not as a big a deal as it sounds. Making stuff up comes fairly easily to me.

  16. Re: pages

    Yes, 400 pages, printed on my printer, Times New Roman size 12 font, double spaced. It’s not as a big a deal as it sounds. Making stuff up comes fairly easily to me.

  17. Re: pages

    Haha that’s wonderful. I took a neurology/linguistics class this semester, and research shows that typing makes you use both sides of your brain (each hand is connected to the opposing hemisphere) and thus you think differently about what you are trying to say, instead of writing, which is a half-brained operation, haha.
    Thanks for answering! Hearing about your 400 thrown-out pages made me go “wow!” I know I need to write more, and it gives me hope to know that it’s ok to throw out a ton of work if it helps you figure your characters out.

  18. Re: pages

    Haha that’s wonderful. I took a neurology/linguistics class this semester, and research shows that typing makes you use both sides of your brain (each hand is connected to the opposing hemisphere) and thus you think differently about what you are trying to say, instead of writing, which is a half-brained operation, haha.
    Thanks for answering! Hearing about your 400 thrown-out pages made me go “wow!” I know I need to write more, and it gives me hope to know that it’s ok to throw out a ton of work if it helps you figure your characters out.

  19. > I started this book in January, 2005

    so, you wrote seven drafts in a year???

    damn! how come you think you’re slow?

    signed, girl with five years between books

  20. > I started this book in January, 2005

    so, you wrote seven drafts in a year???

    damn! how come you think you’re slow?

    signed, girl with five years between books

  21. > I started this book in January, 2005

    so, you wrote seven drafts in a year???

    damn! how come you think you’re slow?

    signed, girl with five years between books

  22. snowday=rereading catalyst under layers and layers of blankets-each word pulling me closer-like a boyfriend with too much testosterone.

    Ohhh!(jumps up and down, arms flying around, pick me!) I have a question. How do you know when you’ve got too much description–When I write stories I just go off describing the setting for like five paragraphs…how do you pick out the good stuff, and when?

  23. snowday=rereading catalyst under layers and layers of blankets-each word pulling me closer-like a boyfriend with too much testosterone.

    Ohhh!(jumps up and down, arms flying around, pick me!) I have a question. How do you know when you’ve got too much description–When I write stories I just go off describing the setting for like five paragraphs…how do you pick out the good stuff, and when?

    1. awwww….. you’re reading catalyst! that makes me feel so good!

      I tend to go on and on with description, so I wind up cutting a lot out. I believe a well-told story is written in as few words as possible. Which is much easier to say than do.

  24. snowday=rereading catalyst under layers and layers of blankets-each word pulling me closer-like a boyfriend with too much testosterone.

    Ohhh!(jumps up and down, arms flying around, pick me!) I have a question. How do you know when you’ve got too much description–When I write stories I just go off describing the setting for like five paragraphs…how do you pick out the good stuff, and when?

  25. Thanks much for your insight into the drafting process! It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published makes me feel so much better about my own writing       =^D

  26. Thanks much for your insight into the drafting process! It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published makes me feel so much better about my own writing       =^D

  27. Thanks much for your insight into the drafting process! It is nearly impossible for me to read my books when they are published makes me feel so much better about my own writing       =^D

  28. thank you!!

    Thank you for the thread on revisng!! (I’m the one who asked you about it yesterday)

    I definitely could have pegged you for a non-outline person– your stories are so fluid and unpredictable, it’s never a monotonous this happened, and then this happened…

    I was very anti-outline at the beginning of writing my WIP, but then I realized I wanted to make it into a trilogy, so I plotted out approximately what would happen in each book. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

    I like what you said about throwing things out, even if it’s something you really like. It took me hundreds of pages to understand my two MCs, and I’m realizing I can’t use everything that I’ve written.

    The one question I have is if you ever read your work out loud as a tool for revising? Is it important to you whether your work sounds good out loud or not?

  29. thank you!!

    Thank you for the thread on revisng!! (I’m the one who asked you about it yesterday)

    I definitely could have pegged you for a non-outline person– your stories are so fluid and unpredictable, it’s never a monotonous this happened, and then this happened…

    I was very anti-outline at the beginning of writing my WIP, but then I realized I wanted to make it into a trilogy, so I plotted out approximately what would happen in each book. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

    I like what you said about throwing things out, even if it’s something you really like. It took me hundreds of pages to understand my two MCs, and I’m realizing I can’t use everything that I’ve written.

    The one question I have is if you ever read your work out loud as a tool for revising? Is it important to you whether your work sounds good out loud or not?

    1. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

      That made me laugh (in a good way), and made me think about how my characters tend to do that to me if I get any sort of outline of any sort for them.

  30. thank you!!

    Thank you for the thread on revisng!! (I’m the one who asked you about it yesterday)

    I definitely could have pegged you for a non-outline person– your stories are so fluid and unpredictable, it’s never a monotonous this happened, and then this happened…

    I was very anti-outline at the beginning of writing my WIP, but then I realized I wanted to make it into a trilogy, so I plotted out approximately what would happen in each book. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

    I like what you said about throwing things out, even if it’s something you really like. It took me hundreds of pages to understand my two MCs, and I’m realizing I can’t use everything that I’ve written.

    The one question I have is if you ever read your work out loud as a tool for revising? Is it important to you whether your work sounds good out loud or not?

  31. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

    That made me laugh (in a good way), and made me think about how my characters tend to do that to me if I get any sort of outline of any sort for them.

  32. I think what was interesting was seeing how far I could veer from my plan, and still have it work out in the end.

    That made me laugh (in a good way), and made me think about how my characters tend to do that to me if I get any sort of outline of any sort for them.

  33. awwww….. you’re reading catalyst! that makes me feel so good!

    I tend to go on and on with description, so I wind up cutting a lot out. I believe a well-told story is written in as few words as possible. Which is much easier to say than do.

  34. awwww….. you’re reading catalyst! that makes me feel so good!

    I tend to go on and on with description, so I wind up cutting a lot out. I believe a well-told story is written in as few words as possible. Which is much easier to say than do.

  35. This is really interesting….and I really wish I could think of a question…Oh! Here’s one. Do you revise on the computer or on paper? Cuz I know I have a really hard time revising anything if it’s not printed out. I really identify with what you said about needing to go where the character wants and writing stuff to understand your character. When I’ve written the small amount of stuff that I have, I’ve basically always needed to do it. In the beginning it kind of killed me to get rid of anything. However, when I made myself do it, I think it helped my story. I did enjoy the stuff I wrote, so I do occasionally admire it. I still haven’t given up wanting to stick it back in, though.

    By the way, I’ve got a snow day! (here in Syracuse) I’m very happy, and I just wanted to share. What you said in Speak about snow in Syracuse and how they just plow and make you go to school anyway was one of the things that made me really love that book (and you). I was just like, there is someone who understands Syracuse, and she’s also a fabulous writer!

  36. This is really interesting….and I really wish I could think of a question…Oh! Here’s one. Do you revise on the computer or on paper? Cuz I know I have a really hard time revising anything if it’s not printed out. I really identify with what you said about needing to go where the character wants and writing stuff to understand your character. When I’ve written the small amount of stuff that I have, I’ve basically always needed to do it. In the beginning it kind of killed me to get rid of anything. However, when I made myself do it, I think it helped my story. I did enjoy the stuff I wrote, so I do occasionally admire it. I still haven’t given up wanting to stick it back in, though.

    By the way, I’ve got a snow day! (here in Syracuse) I’m very happy, and I just wanted to share. What you said in Speak about snow in Syracuse and how they just plow and make you go to school anyway was one of the things that made me really love that book (and you). I was just like, there is someone who understands Syracuse, and she’s also a fabulous writer!

    1. I revise both on the computer and on printed-out copies. I hope you enjoyed your snow day. We lost power up here this afternoon but it just came back on. Thanks for the kind words.

  37. This is really interesting….and I really wish I could think of a question…Oh! Here’s one. Do you revise on the computer or on paper? Cuz I know I have a really hard time revising anything if it’s not printed out. I really identify with what you said about needing to go where the character wants and writing stuff to understand your character. When I’ve written the small amount of stuff that I have, I’ve basically always needed to do it. In the beginning it kind of killed me to get rid of anything. However, when I made myself do it, I think it helped my story. I did enjoy the stuff I wrote, so I do occasionally admire it. I still haven’t given up wanting to stick it back in, though.

    By the way, I’ve got a snow day! (here in Syracuse) I’m very happy, and I just wanted to share. What you said in Speak about snow in Syracuse and how they just plow and make you go to school anyway was one of the things that made me really love that book (and you). I was just like, there is someone who understands Syracuse, and she’s also a fabulous writer!

  38. Re: pages

    That’s fascinating about typing! I hate writing in long hand because my hand can’t keep up with my brain…and the hand starts hurting quickly. I love writing on a computer keyboard, didn’t realize I was using both sides of my brain!

  39. Re: pages

    That’s fascinating about typing! I hate writing in long hand because my hand can’t keep up with my brain…and the hand starts hurting quickly. I love writing on a computer keyboard, didn’t realize I was using both sides of my brain!

  40. Thanks!

    I appreciate the info on revision…that’s pretty much where I’m headed. I have a teacher who’s latest book came out this fall and she had 22 revisions. She even changed the pov when her editor said it was fine! 🙂

    I had 12 major revisions of the critical thesis that I just completed. I’ve never reworked and reworked something like that before. Quite an experience.

  41. Thanks!

    I appreciate the info on revision…that’s pretty much where I’m headed. I have a teacher who’s latest book came out this fall and she had 22 revisions. She even changed the pov when her editor said it was fine! 🙂

    I had 12 major revisions of the critical thesis that I just completed. I’ve never reworked and reworked something like that before. Quite an experience.

  42. Thanks!

    I appreciate the info on revision…that’s pretty much where I’m headed. I have a teacher who’s latest book came out this fall and she had 22 revisions. She even changed the pov when her editor said it was fine! 🙂

    I had 12 major revisions of the critical thesis that I just completed. I’ve never reworked and reworked something like that before. Quite an experience.

      1. Ditto on enjoying revisions more than the first draft. The only thing I don’t like about revising is getting back into the character’s voice after a piece has been sitting awhile. I always feel like a dog running in circles ttrying to bite its tail.

      2. Hmmmn, I think I prefer writing the first draft. Although that is more emotionally draining than revising most of the time. Maybe I don’t like revising as much cause I know no matter how close to perfect it gets, it will never actually be perfect, so part of me will never be satisfied with it.

  43. I revise both on the computer and on printed-out copies. I hope you enjoyed your snow day. We lost power up here this afternoon but it just came back on. Thanks for the kind words.

  44. I revise both on the computer and on printed-out copies. I hope you enjoyed your snow day. We lost power up here this afternoon but it just came back on. Thanks for the kind words.

  45. Prom and Speak

    I am yet another one of Mrs. Whites students!!! I have just recently finish reading SPEAK and i am in the process if reading PROM!! I just wanted to say that i am in LOVE with your writing! You are a great writer and i am glad that Mrs.white suggest that i read your books. I like how it’s more like life, then just some fantasy!!! Thanks for writing so WONDERFULLY! BeCcA~

  46. Prom and Speak

    I am yet another one of Mrs. Whites students!!! I have just recently finish reading SPEAK and i am in the process if reading PROM!! I just wanted to say that i am in LOVE with your writing! You are a great writer and i am glad that Mrs.white suggest that i read your books. I like how it’s more like life, then just some fantasy!!! Thanks for writing so WONDERFULLY! BeCcA~

  47. Prom and Speak

    I am yet another one of Mrs. Whites students!!! I have just recently finish reading SPEAK and i am in the process if reading PROM!! I just wanted to say that i am in LOVE with your writing! You are a great writer and i am glad that Mrs.white suggest that i read your books. I like how it’s more like life, then just some fantasy!!! Thanks for writing so WONDERFULLY! BeCcA~

  48. Re: pages

    wow! totally didn’t know that about typing and using both sides of your brain…i should type more, maybe my short stories will be better! lol =) xoxo Isabel

  49. Re: pages

    wow! totally didn’t know that about typing and using both sides of your brain…i should type more, maybe my short stories will be better! lol =) xoxo Isabel

  50. Ditto on enjoying revisions more than the first draft. The only thing I don’t like about revising is getting back into the character’s voice after a piece has been sitting awhile. I always feel like a dog running in circles ttrying to bite its tail.

  51. Ditto on enjoying revisions more than the first draft. The only thing I don’t like about revising is getting back into the character’s voice after a piece has been sitting awhile. I always feel like a dog running in circles ttrying to bite its tail.

    1. Stopped using the crutch yesterday, but still gimping around. BH is like a German Shepherd – he growls when I get off the couch. Thanks for asking

  52. Stopped using the crutch yesterday, but still gimping around. BH is like a German Shepherd – he growls when I get off the couch. Thanks for asking

  53. Stopped using the crutch yesterday, but still gimping around. BH is like a German Shepherd – he growls when I get off the couch. Thanks for asking

  54. short story

    Hi, Laurie. (do you mind if I call you that)

    I love to write, and this year we’re writing a short story for our English class. When I showed up to school the other day with barely an outline on my paper, I realized that everyone in my class had adventurous, wondeful ideas with long paragraphs describing every little world in their story. And mine was just a normal idea about a girl like me who has a crush on a boy. There is, of course, other little plots in it but not much. And he (my teacher) wants me to plan out my whole story for him – almost every single little thing – to turn in to class. And I do like outlines, but I don’t like to plan out everything, if you know what I mean. My teacher is pretty strict and I don’t want to get a bad grade on this short story idea, incident, conflict thing right off the bat. What do you suggest I do?

  55. short story

    Hi, Laurie. (do you mind if I call you that)

    I love to write, and this year we’re writing a short story for our English class. When I showed up to school the other day with barely an outline on my paper, I realized that everyone in my class had adventurous, wondeful ideas with long paragraphs describing every little world in their story. And mine was just a normal idea about a girl like me who has a crush on a boy. There is, of course, other little plots in it but not much. And he (my teacher) wants me to plan out my whole story for him – almost every single little thing – to turn in to class. And I do like outlines, but I don’t like to plan out everything, if you know what I mean. My teacher is pretty strict and I don’t want to get a bad grade on this short story idea, incident, conflict thing right off the bat. What do you suggest I do?

      1. Re: short story

        I’m not LHA, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn recently.

        Much of the fun of writing stories is letting the writing take over. Because a short story is, well, much shorter than a novel, you can afford to explore in your early drafts and still easily revise the piece so that it’s a good, solid story. If my teacher made me outline a short story (of say, less than 5k words), I would write the story first and then do the outline after a couple of revisions. Oops, I guess I shouldn’t have said that: NCTE may make me renounce my membership for being a turncoat English teacher.:-)

        1. Re: short story

          Thanks! I’m thinking maybe I’ll write the story over Christmas break and then do the outline afterwards – I’m sure he’ll let me do that. If he doesn’t … well, I’ll try to um, convince him that I should. ^^

          Thank you so much for the advice! :p

    1. Re: short story

      I suggest you do what the teacher tells you, because in this case, that’s your job. You might learn a lot from the process.

      If you find out that his method doesn’t work for you, then try something different on your own time, and show him how it worked better for you. Then he might learn something!

  56. short story

    Hi, Laurie. (do you mind if I call you that)

    I love to write, and this year we’re writing a short story for our English class. When I showed up to school the other day with barely an outline on my paper, I realized that everyone in my class had adventurous, wondeful ideas with long paragraphs describing every little world in their story. And mine was just a normal idea about a girl like me who has a crush on a boy. There is, of course, other little plots in it but not much. And he (my teacher) wants me to plan out my whole story for him – almost every single little thing – to turn in to class. And I do like outlines, but I don’t like to plan out everything, if you know what I mean. My teacher is pretty strict and I don’t want to get a bad grade on this short story idea, incident, conflict thing right off the bat. What do you suggest I do?

  57. Hmmmn, I think I prefer writing the first draft. Although that is more emotionally draining than revising most of the time. Maybe I don’t like revising as much cause I know no matter how close to perfect it gets, it will never actually be perfect, so part of me will never be satisfied with it.

  58. Hmmmn, I think I prefer writing the first draft. Although that is more emotionally draining than revising most of the time. Maybe I don’t like revising as much cause I know no matter how close to perfect it gets, it will never actually be perfect, so part of me will never be satisfied with it.

  59. Re: short story

    I’m not LHA, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn recently.

    Much of the fun of writing stories is letting the writing take over. Because a short story is, well, much shorter than a novel, you can afford to explore in your early drafts and still easily revise the piece so that it’s a good, solid story. If my teacher made me outline a short story (of say, less than 5k words), I would write the story first and then do the outline after a couple of revisions. Oops, I guess I shouldn’t have said that: NCTE may make me renounce my membership for being a turncoat English teacher.:-)

  60. Re: short story

    I’m not LHA, but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn recently.

    Much of the fun of writing stories is letting the writing take over. Because a short story is, well, much shorter than a novel, you can afford to explore in your early drafts and still easily revise the piece so that it’s a good, solid story. If my teacher made me outline a short story (of say, less than 5k words), I would write the story first and then do the outline after a couple of revisions. Oops, I guess I shouldn’t have said that: NCTE may make me renounce my membership for being a turncoat English teacher.:-)

  61. Re: short story

    Thanks! I’m thinking maybe I’ll write the story over Christmas break and then do the outline afterwards – I’m sure he’ll let me do that. If he doesn’t … well, I’ll try to um, convince him that I should. ^^

    Thank you so much for the advice! :p

  62. Re: short story

    Thanks! I’m thinking maybe I’ll write the story over Christmas break and then do the outline afterwards – I’m sure he’ll let me do that. If he doesn’t … well, I’ll try to um, convince him that I should. ^^

    Thank you so much for the advice! :p

  63. Very very off-topic and for that I deeply apologize but…I’m in love with your icon 😀

    And thanks for the revision advice, Laurie! It is very insightful!

  64. Very very off-topic and for that I deeply apologize but…I’m in love with your icon 😀

    And thanks for the revision advice, Laurie! It is very insightful!

  65. General

    1. Do you ever find that when a character you’re developing becomes overwhelmed, you do as well? (I know that when I’m reading certain novels- and the character is being pounded to the very core- I have to take a break and zen out with a relaxing hot chocolate before I keep going.)
    2. When your characters have a change in mood, do transitions come easily to you- or do you have to edit them sometimes due to abruptness?
    3. Ever get a serious case of writers block?
    4. Any cures?

    Julia

  66. General

    1. Do you ever find that when a character you’re developing becomes overwhelmed, you do as well? (I know that when I’m reading certain novels- and the character is being pounded to the very core- I have to take a break and zen out with a relaxing hot chocolate before I keep going.)
    2. When your characters have a change in mood, do transitions come easily to you- or do you have to edit them sometimes due to abruptness?
    3. Ever get a serious case of writers block?
    4. Any cures?

    Julia

    1. Re: General

      1. Yep. I feel what my characters are feeling and sometimes it means I have to take a break from the story and catch my breath.
      2. I always edit everything. My early drafts are dreadful.
      3. Yep.
      4. Yep. Writer’s block is caused by lack of preparation, perfection, and procrastination. If you don’t know what to write, maybe you haven’t thought about your characters enough, so do some free associating or interview your character. Nobody writes perfectly, ever, so give your self permission to write badly and know that you will improve it when you edit. And don’t procrastinate with writing assignements because it is wicked hard to be creative when a loud clock is ticking in your ear.

  67. General

    1. Do you ever find that when a character you’re developing becomes overwhelmed, you do as well? (I know that when I’m reading certain novels- and the character is being pounded to the very core- I have to take a break and zen out with a relaxing hot chocolate before I keep going.)
    2. When your characters have a change in mood, do transitions come easily to you- or do you have to edit them sometimes due to abruptness?
    3. Ever get a serious case of writers block?
    4. Any cures?

    Julia

  68. Re: short story

    I suggest you do what the teacher tells you, because in this case, that’s your job. You might learn a lot from the process.

    If you find out that his method doesn’t work for you, then try something different on your own time, and show him how it worked better for you. Then he might learn something!

  69. Re: short story

    I suggest you do what the teacher tells you, because in this case, that’s your job. You might learn a lot from the process.

    If you find out that his method doesn’t work for you, then try something different on your own time, and show him how it worked better for you. Then he might learn something!

  70. Re: General

    1. Yep. I feel what my characters are feeling and sometimes it means I have to take a break from the story and catch my breath.
    2. I always edit everything. My early drafts are dreadful.
    3. Yep.
    4. Yep. Writer’s block is caused by lack of preparation, perfection, and procrastination. If you don’t know what to write, maybe you haven’t thought about your characters enough, so do some free associating or interview your character. Nobody writes perfectly, ever, so give your self permission to write badly and know that you will improve it when you edit. And don’t procrastinate with writing assignements because it is wicked hard to be creative when a loud clock is ticking in your ear.

  71. Re: General

    1. Yep. I feel what my characters are feeling and sometimes it means I have to take a break from the story and catch my breath.
    2. I always edit everything. My early drafts are dreadful.
    3. Yep.
    4. Yep. Writer’s block is caused by lack of preparation, perfection, and procrastination. If you don’t know what to write, maybe you haven’t thought about your characters enough, so do some free associating or interview your character. Nobody writes perfectly, ever, so give your self permission to write badly and know that you will improve it when you edit. And don’t procrastinate with writing assignements because it is wicked hard to be creative when a loud clock is ticking in your ear.

  72. Sorry; late question, but i just came up with this: do [m]any of the scenes you throw away happen before the main action of the book? Like, do you figure out who your characters are by writing scenes that act as back-story about their lives, or are you just concerned with who characters are at the time your story takes place?

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  73. Sorry; late question, but i just came up with this: do [m]any of the scenes you throw away happen before the main action of the book? Like, do you figure out who your characters are by writing scenes that act as back-story about their lives, or are you just concerned with who characters are at the time your story takes place?

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

    1. No – I seem to throw out scenes that occur whenever i am not 100% clear about the emotional need of the character. I would like to learn how to do this better.

  74. Sorry; late question, but i just came up with this: do [m]any of the scenes you throw away happen before the main action of the book? Like, do you figure out who your characters are by writing scenes that act as back-story about their lives, or are you just concerned with who characters are at the time your story takes place?

    Hope you’re feeling better soon!

  75. No – I seem to throw out scenes that occur whenever i am not 100% clear about the emotional need of the character. I would like to learn how to do this better.

  76. No – I seem to throw out scenes that occur whenever i am not 100% clear about the emotional need of the character. I would like to learn how to do this better.

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