The Question of the Week is posted every Sunday and will consist of a question followed by my answer and explanation to the same. Some questions will only require a simple answer that could potentially be followed by an explanation. Many questions will be writer oriented, but not all. Everyone is encouraged to answer in the comments and discussions/follow up questions are more than welcome!
What’s your writing/editing process?
Note: I actually recorded this particular post and was going to put the audio file here; however, you need to have either a premium or business style WordPress in order to do such without a third party. This is not out of the realm of future possibility as I’d love a way to upload audio and video files without being forced to use a site like YouTube if I don’t want/have to.
I was having a discussion with the lovely LightningNightNova about this in a comment thread and thought it would make an excellent QOTW.
So with hand written stories I’ll write my bit for the day then the next day, I read through what I wrote prior to put myself back in the mien of the story before continuing on, making minor edits on the page as I go. When it’s time to put the story into Word, I do the exact same thing. As I type it up, I’ll do some editing, additions, and any necessary deletions as I go along using the hand written copy as a base. The next session, I read back through what’s been typed up prior, making more edits as necessary before continuing the thread of the story. Once everything is in Word I go back to the beginning of the work and do a full and comprehensive edit. This process may happen quite a few times even though by the time I get to that point, the story has been edited quite a bit.
The Serpent’s Tale was written with such a method. The last two stories, Northern Lights and The Broken Rose were written entirely on Word with no physical writing done at all. While these were fanfictions, that has no bearing on the method. I decided to try it with NL, and mistakenly thought that TBR would be a short tale instead of the longest I’d ever drafted. My short story Threads of Sorrow was written entirely on Word, too. That method is similar to the handwritten one; it’s just missing that step. Using notes and outlines I write up to a certain point on Word, and the next day read through the prior writing before continuing. When the story’s completed I do the comprehensive edit (which is going on right now with TBR), with any additions, changes, and deletions happening during that time (I’m currently working on one of those additions right now as I’m drafting an additional early chapter).
While you’d think cutting out the hand writing would make story drafting faster, it actually doesn’t. The Serpent’s Tale took me two years to write and edit the first time (it needs to be edited again, but that’s another story…) and so did Northern Lights. I was over a year in the writing on The Broken Rose (understandably since it was approximately 250k words), and it will probably take me more than that to fully edit it.
I much prefer the handwritten method (which I discuss more here), because I like having that physical base/foundation to fall back to in case something happens. I have lost work before.on TST and others that unfortunately weren’t handwritten, stories I’ll never get back. Plus I always have this persistent fear that I’ll sit down to write and nothing will come. This worry is far more profound when I’m in front of a computer screen than when I see a blank journal page. The latter seems more of an invitation to write. I intend to draft my next story by hand, and there’s actually some evidence to support this method. I’m not the only one who’d noticed it’s not a detriment to time, and it has some other advantages, as well.
For essays and articles those are all written on Word or directly on WordPress with the help of notes. I’m okay writing shorter things without the benefit of a physical copy, but for longer stories, I prefer handwritten.
I probably edit everything I write at least five times before I’ll ever allow anyone else to see it. It’s a pride thing for me I guess, because I always want to present my best face, and I absolutely abhor finding a silly error in something I’ve edited numerous times.
What’s your writing/editing method? Do you hand write first? Do you do small edits as you go along or save them until you’ve finished drafting the entire work?
I look forward to your answers in the comments!