Weekly Writer Wisdom: September 12, 2017

(Look for this week’s #WeeklyWriterWisdom questions after the jump.)

This Week’s Questions: How do you feel about first drafts? Do you struggle to “let it flow” or find it tempting to self-edit? Or do you have no trouble with, as Shannon Hale puts it, shoveling sand into a box so you can build castles with it later? Also, is drafting your favorite part of the writing process? Or do you prefer revising or editing?

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16 thoughts on “Weekly Writer Wisdom: September 12, 2017

  1. More planner than pantser, I write slowly and as well as I can from the start, nominally producing one edited draft, but then I read and reread and edit more. I don’t consider the result to be new drafts as most remains unchanged. All my WIPS, whether Dieselpunk or SF, are action/adventure oriented and linear, elaborate but not particularly complex, and require a lot of advance plotting.

    That said, I’m fixing a plot hole in my YA Trilogy at the moment that is taking WEEKS! Hence the wise old saying of carpenters, ‘Measure twice and cut once!’

    Liked by 1 person

    • So not much of a sandbox for you then? If you had to use a metaphor for your first drafts, what would be more fitting for you, John?

      Weeks?! :S Do you think you’ve got a handle on how to fix the plot hole? Or do you still have a ways to go?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have other preoccupations too at the moment, Sara. I have ideas for fixing the plot hole and hopefully strengthening the whole trilogy, but I’m still not there.

        My first draft metaphor might be making a sand castle shaped box first and then shoveling in the sand and letting it set! Mind you, when I lift off the box bits of the castle fall off and I have to do more repairs.


  2. My favourite part of the process is writing the first draft, when it is more mine than at any other time – and know that the recrafting, redrafting and rewriting is when it needs smoothing out and making it more readable, in preparation for the reading public:)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Now I feel like I’m in the minority. *lol* First drafts are the ones that test my patience most, and I enjoy the revising / editing stages more. Maybe it’s because the later stages are when I feel most confident in what I’m doing… and because I’m a slow drafter. Even if I know what needs to happen, the words to make that come to life don’t flow from the brain to my fingers very quickly.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh don’t feel in the minority – across the board I’d say that there is more or less an even split between those that enjoy the first draft writing and those that prefer the editing stage – and there isn’t a significant different in the quality of either process, either. The success or otherwise is entirely down to the individual talent of each writer:)

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I like that Shannon Hale quote. And the urge to edit too soon can be a challenge I think, but I prefer the drafting stage- for me that’s where the most excitement is, the feeling of accomplishment, when I put an idea or a scene on paper (so to speak) and then carry it forward from there- that whole creative exercise is so fulfilling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s a great quote, isn’t it? And I agree that it’s tempting to edit during your first draft. But with my previous WIP I learned that if I made a list of those potential changes, I was sort of stating my intention to make the change at a later date. And then the urge to self-edit disappeared.

      Oh yes, it’s definitely exciting to finish a first draft, and finishing every individual scene and chapter along the way. That’s actually how I’ve been feeling lately about the new WIP. I’m closing in on 40K words, and every milestone and every scene / chapter completed feels like a small celebration. 🙂

      I know you run a book blog, Greg, but I don’t recall you posting anything about writing projects. Are you working on something right now?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve heard this quote and I love it. ^ ^ I used to be prone to self-edit, but I’ve gotten past that now. It’s really freeing to write a first draft and not worry about fixing it until later. ^ ^


    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve gotten better about self-editing during first drafts, too. I still do it now and then, so I haven’t broken the habit completely… but I’ve already noticed that I’m drafting the new WIP at a faster rate than I did with TKC. 🙂 Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m not a slow writer anymore!

      Would you say that drafting is your favorite stage of writing, as opposed to revising or editing?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I self-edit whenever I feel like it and it doesn’t really disturb my “flow” – if anything, it helps me to get back into writing if I had a break or didn’t feel like it.
    I also like my first draft to be somewhat “polished” structure-wise and plot-wise. It makes the revisions later much easier to handle. On the other hand, the way I usually work on my stories means I don’t have much wriggle space to begin with: just like I’m putting pieces of the puzzles together, they have specific places they need to go to for the picture to work, and only few is more “portable”.

    Liked by 2 people

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