Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Lightbulb Moment

If you've followed my blogging long enough you know that I've tried all manner of writing and editing techniques. I've outlined to a fault, turned to the pantser method, and now I've run back to outlining. I have to admit that while my rough drafts have become better through my new outlining method, I still have work to go on my method of editing.

With Midnight Raynne I did the pantser thing and it worked great, for that story. I tried to write Barely There and another rough draft, but only got half way with both of them before trashing everything I'd written. Seeing as I didn't outline Midnight Raynne I had a lot of work to do on plot holes. I created a spreadsheet, after reading a blog post of another writer (I wish I could remember who & which blog), and started working my behind off to edit for plot. I did one whole round of editing focusing entirely on the plot. I then created a new spreadsheet and focused on characters, setting, and other items I felt were important to that story. After that round I ran through and fixed any, and every, plot hole and character I could find. I'll admit the writing is awful on that story, but I've learned a lot about my writing since shelving this project.

Fast forward several months and I wrote Barely There using a much better method of outlining. I spent more time before writing those first words and really figured out where I wanted to go with the story overall. After writing it I think I felt a little too cocky about the better rough draft and I forgot about how I had edited Midnight Raynne. I decided that I would run through the story once and make notes, then edit the heck out of it in one round. After all, it didn't need as much work as Midnight Raynne did.

Wrong!!!

After sending Barely There off to beta readers I pulled Midnight Raynne back off the shelf. About the time I got to chapter ten I realized that there were far less plot holes with this one than Barely There. Yup, apparently my original method of editing was much better than this new one. I see now how much work Barely There still needs. I can see the holes in that one clearly without even looking at the manuscript. I'm slightly itching to get back to it. At the same time, I want to wait. I want to see what my beta readers say about the story. What they like or don't like. What they think needs to be fixed. Then, I'm thinking, I'll go about it the spreadsheet way.

Well, sorta. I found another blog post recently, while pondering the spreadsheet method, and am leaning towards using it to create an outline method instead of the spreadsheet method. It's similar, but in outline form. I'm thinking it could work just as well, if not better. At least that's what I hope. By the way if you don't follow Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing, you should: blog & Google+.

So, what's the point of this blog post?

Try different methods!!!! Don't stick with one way of writing or editing. Change it up until you figure out the best way to write and edit, for you. Don't do it one way because that's the way you were taught or your favorite author does it that way. Write and edit the way that works the best for you.

Your Turn -> Do you try different methods of writing and/or editing? Has it helped?

3 comments:

  1. Wow - I've never thought about methods that much. I wrote MSs (simply out of the blue, how they came) for fun years before I actually thought about trying to get one published. None of these turned out well, but I didn't care. It was for fun.

    My first 'serious' MS was one of the above regurgitated. I spent over a year smoothing out plot problems. It turned out better, but took a long time.
    My current WIP was planned out mentally months before I sat down to write it. I'd already told it to my kids during our daily car rides, so most of the plot problems got ironed out there. So far, this seems to be the easiest one to write.

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    1. That's funny, my first ms was over planned and I kept trying things out. It took me a year and several drafts before I decided to write without planning. It turned out even better than I had anticipated. That's when I decided to go the pantser route.

      I even included my hubby in the first round of writing. I wanted his opinion on my outline, but he wanted to turn it into an adult dungeon and dragons book, not young adult paranormal, like I was writing. Needless to say, he no longer gets to look at my writing. haha!

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    2. Lol! I keep my hubby away from mine too because he wants a scientifical explanation for everything. How funny!

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