Thursday, April 15, 2010

In Which I Am Engrossed



Does anyone else get engrossed when reading their own WIPs? I do. Or at least it's something like engrossed. I always start off reading and editing, but then almost always I hit a point where I realize I'm just reading the story and not really paying attention to the edits that need to happen.

This happens frequently when I beta as well, which is why my beginnings are always heavily marked up, but the marks drop off towards the end.

I can't help it, the stories just always draw me in.

The solution, of course, is to read backwards. It helps you focus on each individual sentence instead of focusing on the whole.

Unfortunately I'm not at that point yet, I'm at the point where I'm reading each scene and deciding on any major changes I need to make. So reading backwards doesn't help when you're looking for pacing issues, and plot holes.

Also, it hurts that I've only read the whole WIP once-ish (it will be twice once I'm done with each of these scenes) so I'm not yet overly familiar with it.

Does this happen to anyone else? What are your solutions?

22 comments:

JustineDell said...

And here I thought it was just me! Thank goodness I'm not they only one who can't edit because they get to involved in the story. Same on us...lol. I feel bad when I do it to my beta, but my brain (err..me) can't help it!

~JD

Kittie Howard said...

I wish I were in your pen and could let go of the editing. What shouldn't be looms like this huge Times Square marquee.

Summer said...

Yup. I think it's a good sign though; if we can overlook the need for editing and be sucked into our stories, then they must be at least decent, right? :-)

Usually once I've re-read it for the first time after writing, it's fresh enough in my mind that I can focus on the editing.

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

yes. I am exactly the same way. Like Summer, I feel this can be a good thing - would it not be awful if all you saw were mistakes and overlooked the heart?

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Piedmont Writer said...

When I first brough home Monster Baby from the hospital she was so shiny new it was all I could do to stay away from her, even while she slept. I was always looking for something, flaw or beauty.

Now, not so much.

It's the same with a brand new novel, you read it looking for flaws but then can't help yourself you just find the beauty. It's your baby. Don't worry, what you're doing is normal.

Southpaw said...

Yes. It's hard for me to slow down and read monotone like the Manuscript Makeover suggests Reading backwards is a great idea.

Kay said...

Think of it as a good sign. I figure that if what I wrote can't keep my attention, it won't keep anyone else's attention either.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Oh it isn't just me then? For my stuff, I go through each paragraph, asking myself questions and analyzing what I wrote. Unfortunately I have no solutions about how to deal with that problem when I beta read. I always feel bad about that.

Falen said...

Justine - oh i'm glad to hear you do it too.

Kittie - yeah but the editing needs to get done. And usually, i enjoy it

Summer - this is true. Though i'm always worried that maybe i'm engrossed just because i wrote it and it's familiar?

Courtney - very true

Piedmont - that, is a good metaphor

Southpaw - i think the reading backwards will be the last editing step i do. Once that's complete, then i am done

Kay - true. I hope i can keep other people's attention

Laura Marcella said...

I break it up into chunks. For example, I keep just three pages and before moving on, I make sure those three pages are edited well.

Good luck!

Palindrome said...

Yes, I have a hard time not reading for enjoyment as well when editing. That's a good sign though, it means you knit a good yarn. :P

Teebore said...

Oh, I totally do the same thing. I do it when editing my stuff, your stuff, Palindrome's stuff, anything.

I almost ALWAYS have to read through whatever I'm editing at least once, just to let myself get sucked into the story and see where it's going. THEN I can actually go back and pay attention to all the editing stuff.

Even then, if I'm not careful, the story will suck me back in.

It's definitely a good thing though, I think, if what you're reading, (yours or someone else's) draws your attention away from editing. It means its strengths are greater than its flaws.

And while you'll ultimately want to eliminate those flaws, starting in a place where the strengths outnumber the flaws is a good thing.

Falen said...

stina - that's probably a good way to go about it

Laura - yeah that sounds like a good plan. i may try that

Palindrome - true, but when i'm trying to get some revisions done, it's a pain

Teebore - true true. Even if i catch myself doing it, though, it's hard for me to stop

Natalie said...

Read it a few hundred times. It will get less interesting! :)

Matthew Rush said...

Yes this happens to me. But each time I go back through it gets to be a little less. I love your suggestion of going through backwards. I also try to print out each scene and then mark it up all by itself.

Talli Roland said...

I'm always so nervous when re-reading my MS that I find it hard to relax and get drawn in. I'm constantly second-guessing it!

Barbara Ann Wright said...

I also think it's cool. I'd just go with it this time around. If you're reading for fun, maybe you CAN spot those big holes you were looking for (if they're even there). Like you said, you can always do grammar backwards later.

Elana Johnson said...

Read in sections. Say 10 pages. Then leave it for a day or two and read 10 more pages. If you're getting engrossed after that, quit and come back later. That way all pages get equal treatment.

Falen said...

Natalie - LOL true true

Mathew - i think that's going to be my next step

Talli - well at least that means you're not likely to miss anything that way

Barbara - i wonder if i would be able to catch any holes easier if i was reading for fun. I wish there was some way to test that theory

Elana - that is a good suggestion. I guess i could probably read the sections out of order too

Lola Sharp said...

Sections, and read it aloud.

Linda Sandifer said...

Yes, it seems the first 50 pages always get the heavy editing. I have worked backward by chapter to catch the grammatical stuff. Then I have to read it all again forward for pacing and to make sure I fix all the places affected by changes that were made.

Simon C. Larter said...

I blame that kind of thing on editing fatigue. Even when editing other people's work, I find I stop critiquing and start reading after about 30, 40 pages or so. The reading backward thing might help, but editing fatigue would still kick in, methinks.

The solution to this is coffee. Possibly Irish coffee. Yes, that.

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