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I'm working on a fanfic story, specifically editing it after 3-4 days away from it and seeing all kinds of things that I would have been oblivious to before. Some scenes need expanding, other lines are superfluous, awkwardly using the same adverb twice in close proximity, etc.: the kind of self-editing I think most experienced fanfic authors do, particularly ones that write slowly and try to craft their stories carefully. The important point is there was some sort of a break involved, the intellectual equivalent of a palate-cleanser between meal courses.

I've been doing some online tutoring and editing of high school essays, and one of the hings that keeps coming up is people don't write drafts anymore. It's not so necessary with the way word processing makes editing possible in a way typewriters and long-hand simply doesn't. But it strikes me that if you don't follow the basic draft process at some point if you don't take time off between writing what you think the final word of a story or essay is, a few days, and then rereading + editing it before submitting it, something really very important is lost.

Or maybe my brain's just slow and needs a chance to reboot. This could very well be me.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
shirebound
May. 30th, 2014 06:25 pm (UTC)
if you don't take time off between writing what you think the final word of a story or essay is, a few days, and then rereading + editing it before submitting it, something really very important is lost.

I completely agree.
mrowe
May. 30th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
Word.

Some time away from a text is essential, both in fanfic and professionally.
engarian
May. 30th, 2014 09:40 pm (UTC)
I am a strong believer in the power of editing, and often prefer the act of slash and burn to the actual stress of composing.

- Erulisse (one L)
sjames_centre
May. 31st, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC)
This was one of the most difficult things to learn when I started writing. I'd rush to finish and post, then read it a week (a month) later and find all the things wrong with it. I am a much slower writer now and usually let things stew a couple days before coming back for a final edit. My stories aren't perfect, but because I'm more patient, they're better (and smoother) than they used to be.
unsettledink
Jun. 1st, 2014 08:38 am (UTC)
I've always had trouble with the concept of drafts, at least for short things (which for me is anything under 10k). I tend to do a lot of ... I guess it can be called revision, in my head before it ever makes it onto the page/screen.

And I always was exceptionally resentful of having to turn in a rough draft and show my revisions for school, when I didn't really use them or felt like I needed them. If I got an A on my 'final' paper but got points deducted because it wasn't different enough from my 'rough' draft ... ugh. By the time I was in high school I was making fake rough drafts for the few teachers that still insisted on them.

But I do think it's important to let something sit for a bit before it's posted, so you can come back and look at it with somewhat fresh eyes. Whenever I get too impatient and just post something without waiting, I always, always find numerous errors upon later rereadings. The brain is fantastic at inserting the words *you* know should be there, but aren't actually there!
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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