Wednesday, April 6, 2011

In Which I Revise Backwards

(OT - is anyone else having blogger formatting issues? It now makes me code with html all my paragraph breaks and hard returns. It makes me want to punch every bee in the face.






Sorry. Onto the real post.)

So whenever you read articles or books about revising, almost always people will tell you the same, or similar, thing:

Do the big stuff first, then the little stuff. Which, for the most part, makes sense. I mean, it would stink to do a whole bunch of line edits, then change things around and have to re-do the line edits.

So, logical. But that's not for me. I mean, first off, I rarely have to make any huge changes. Or at least, I have yet to have to do so.

Sure, I may delete a few scenes here or there, or maybe need to add some scenes but nothing massive and crazy. And certainly no huge amounts of rewriting. You know how I feel about that.

This is probably because I'm an outliner, and once I have that story structure built, I don't realy veer that much from it.

SO, because of this fact, I tend to revise backwards. That is, I line edit first. Crazy? Maybe. But I can't stand moving scenes around if there's clunky prose and typos.

Also, I tend to revise as I write as well. Once I've written my bit for the day, then I read back over it and fix it up some. Since I'm a sloppy typer, there are always things that need fixing - so I don't end up with typos like "She had long, stinking back hair" when I meant to write "She had long, striking black hair".

True Story.

Anyway, that is why I line edit first. Maybe sometimes I end up editing something that I then later delete, but you know what? I'm OK with that.

What about you? Anyway you break the revision mold?

31 comments:

Christine Danek said...

I've been trying to edit as I write. We will see how that goes. I usually do big stuff first then move to the smaller stuff. But I write out of order so who knows if my methods really work.

Anne Gallagher said...

I always line edit first. I hate reading prose that makes no sense. Although I have never written "She had long stinking back hair" That still cracks me up.

And when I start revising, I read the first chapter, and then the last chapter to see if they make sense. Then I'll usually start revising from the end and work my way toward the beginning. That way I can usually find plot holes or loose threads easier. Because I'm not looking for them and they magically appear.

Anne said...

that bee is creepy

Summer Frey said...

I haven't made it to the true revision stage yet, so no...

But I make tons of long stinking back hair typos.

KodasTotems said...

What did that bee ever do to you?! ;)

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Christine - yeah, if you write out of order, then doing the big stuff first makes a lot more sense, since you have to combine it all anyway

Anne - ooh, that's a good idea about reading the "bookends" of the story first, if you will. And i always do at least one backwards read

Anne - yeah, but i'm punching him...

Summer - i'm going to remember that typo forever...

Kodas - umm, let's say he's a jerk bee who makes all his buddies sting people for no reason. Yes... that will do nicely...

Lola Sharp said...

I remember when you had that back hair typo. :)

I think every writer fiddles around and eventually finds what process works for them. There is no right or wrong way, only what works best for you.

Hannah Kincade said...

Ha! Long stinking back hair. My favorite typo that you pointed out from EGS, was when I typed he pulled his hat over his face. And you just wrote, "his whole face?" I almost choked I laughed so hard.

Anywho, I have no idea what I do that breaks the mold. Write horror? Ha!

Hannah Kincade said...

*dancing cats*

Nate Wilson said...

First of all, the HTML line break thing is an option in Blogger. When writing a post, click the "Post Options" link near the bottom and you should see it on the bottom left.

Second of all, I wouldn't punch a bee that big in the face. All it would do is make the thing mad.

And last of all, the way I break the revision mold is by never actually getting to the revisions. I really should start finishing that first draft of mine...

Hart Johnson said...

My big holes problems come when I crunch write... like a WriMo--if a part is stumping me, I skip ahead and then come back. I DO fix typos first... I can't concentrate when it's completely the wrong word or a misspelled word, but the slower, thinking about phrasing, getting rid of anything passive... that comes after. Because my last couple books have definitely had some holes...

Matthew MacNish said...

I've not been having any problems. Are you using the new editor?

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Lola - very very true

Hannah - you know me. What's a critique without some humor thrown in? Amiright? The answer is yes. I am right.

Nate - SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! Really? *opens a new tab to check it out* Dammit! My post options only has Reader Comments and backLinks. Le sigh.

Hart - me too. I just can't stand moving things around when there's typos

Matt - Not that i know of. It's just the same old way i usually do it.I enter in the hard returns, and then, if i move between either Preview, or Compose or Edit HTML, it combines the whole post into one paragraph. It's pissing me off...

Maria Zannini said...

Okay, punching the bee is the best picture ever! I laughed out loud. It is so me.

I'm usually shaking a fist at something around here.

Ref: editing
I line edit first too. I probably shouldn't because tackling the big stuff first is good advice, but there's too much OCD in my blood.

Off to punch a bee in the face.

Nate Wilson said...

Falen - Hmm, weird, that option shows up for me. How about under the Settings tab, in the Formatting section... do you have "Convert Line Breaks" as an option?

Or maybe can you get around all this by using the Compose view instead of the Edit HTML view...

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's not crazy - I tend to start with the easy line edits, even if I do end up cutting out the whole scene. At least it looked good before it hit the trash.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Maria - LOL thanks! I was quite please by my simple "paint" skills

Nate - I've tried just doing it on the compose side, but it seems to make no difference. I do have convert line breaks set to "yes" in my formatting, so i don't know what's up with it

Alex - exactly! Cuz who knows if you'll need to dig it back out of the trash? (probably not, but you never know!)

Holly Ruggiero said...

I don’t conscious line edit first, but I end up making those edits while doing the big picture anyway. At least a little. ‘Cause it is doesn’t read smoothly I can’t determine if it needs revising for feeling, tone, and all that stuff.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey Sarah! You are my featured blogger on Thursday.

Siv Maria said...

Hi, Nice to meet you. Alex sent me your way. I haven't had enough coffee yet so I am having problems processing your quetion, but I love your blog and I too lived in White Bear lake for a few years back when I was itsy bitsy :)

Huntress said...

There a mold to revision? I mean a refusal to meld?
ah...never mind.

I edit as I write except when I don't. LOL

Talli Roland said...

I hear you on the Blogger thing. It's driving me mental.

Everyone has their own way of editing! Ideal with the big plotting issues first, then narrow it down from there.

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Holly - that is a very good point that i had internalizd, but hadn't ben able to put into words until you just said it. You = genius.

Alex - awww! Yay!!

Siv - hi and welcome! Go White Bear Lake! Actually Matt Rush lived right around here too, back in the day.

Huntress - Hah! Fair enough. And to each their own

Talli - i keep trying to fix the blogger issue, but that just makes me more frustrated

Ella said...

Blogger stings, lately! augh...
I enjoyed your post. I am off to work on an outline, but feel like I'm in a world of talent, wondering how to make a distinct mark. Aren't we all...

Nice to meet you~

N. R. Williams said...

I found you through Alex J Cavanaugh. Any way, I'm wondering how I missed you? We have so many of the same friends.
Nancy
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium.

Pen Name: Imogen Rayne said...

Over the years, I have edited in much the same way! Especially, since I began writing my young adult novels. I find it is easier to correct it then and not miss it entirely. I found you through Alex C. Blog post with A to Z challenge. Nice meeting and I am going to follow!

Hugs,
Crystal

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Ella - hah! ZING! Nice to meet you too! And don't worry abotu making a distinct mark - just try to have fun

N.R. - we do indeed! But i guess the blogverse is pretty big

Imogen - Yay for editing the same way! We rock!

Stephanie Faris said...

I think it's the Virgo in me but I have to go through the book starting at page one and progress to the end. I can't write out of order and I can't revise out of order. I may even have to go through 4 times for 4 different things, but it's beginning to end each time!

TL Conway said...

Well hello there, fellow Minnesotan! How 'bout this weather? No, really. Isn't it great?

I do my line edits first for exactly the same reason. I can't look at overall character development when I see all the squiggly red lines in my word document!

Tricia
http://tlconwaywriteshere.blogspot.com/

Kari Marie said...

I have to start at the beginning and move to the end. Of course, I get all sorts of ideas for the middle, when I'm at the beginning or the end. Gah! Starting on my first whole novel revision. We'll see how it goes.

yokohamamama said...

Hmmm...I write long blog posts like that. Editing as I go. If I waited clear 'til the end to do all the editing and fixing layout stuff, things would be thrown and my hair would come out (not of its own accord, either). And, come to think of it, I knit like that, too. Darning in ends as I go-- can *not* stand being all done and having five hundred ends to darn in. So--I hear ya!

"stinking back hair"... (laffing!! I can't look at that without laffing!)

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