A Failed Experiment

When I first began my foray into creative writing, I edited my work as I wrote. At the time I was writing fan fiction, and I’d post chapters as I finished them, so editing as I wrote made sense. When I transitioned into original fiction, I kept the same writing style, as it was comfortable and I didn’t want to try something new right away. I completed one manuscript just in time for National Novel Writing month, and decided to try something new with my next manuscript: I’d write the first draft in November in one quick spurt, and then go back and rewrite and edit. I never finished that manuscript, as the story petered out and I had ideas to combine ideas with my previous manuscript. When I started Seer, I again decided to try my hand at writing a first draft all in one go and then coming back to edit.

I finished the first draft of Seer at the end of March, and am currently rewriting/revising the second draft. I’m also pulling my hair out in large chunks. (Okay, not really, but I feel like it.)

I’ve realized I am not suited to edit after I write. I love editing–it’s my favorite part of creating a new story–but tossing out huge chunks of the story because I decided to change something halfway through writing the first draft is really annoying. I can’t count how many times just this week I’ve thought “This sucks, everything I write sucks, I should just give up.” While writing my first manuscript, I never had those thoughts. Sure I had to rewrite parts, and I had ideas in the middle of writing that I came back to later on, but all in all I felt good about the story. I felt good about where it was going. I felt good about the characters. I felt good.

Maybe it was because it was my first manuscript, and I had that “oh this is so wonderful” feeling you get when creating something all your own. I won’t know for sure until I start another book. But when that time comes, I will be editing as I write. Sure it will take longer to complete an entire draft, but at least I’ll feel better about the story when it’s finished.

Have you ever experimented with your writing methods or style? Has it backfired or been successful? I’d love to hear stories in the comments.

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One thought on “A Failed Experiment

  1. Editing while I write has always backfired for because I never finish the story. I have accepted that drafts are meant to be crap. I will do revision notes in the margins if I’m writing and suddenly realize I want the story to go a different way so I’m not stopping and scrapping half the manuscript. The scrapping is what revision is for, not drafting. So I’m able to complete the draft then use the revision notes to create a thorough outline to make a stellar revised draft where I hopefully won’t have to go beyond three drafts.

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