Thursday, September 1, 2011

Thank You, Stephen King

Ironically, after complaining a little about having to read Stephen King's On Writing for my writing class, King's words inspired me to get control over the middle section of my novel - the part I've been struggling to finish. 

King says that when you are writing the first draft, you should do it for you - and only edit when you are editing, not while you're working on the first draft.  This is usually what I do when I write and edit.  However, I have been emersed in editing mode for several months.  The middle section needs several new chapters, but, because I had my editing hat on, I was fighting myself to get the words down on paper. 

On Tuesday morning, I ripped apart my novel and pulled out the middle section.  Literally, I separated the sections into different binders and copied the existing middle chapters to make a separate Word document.  I decided to allow myself to edit only the beginning and the end sections - I do have a compulsive need to polish it up lately but feel OK about doing it in sections. 

For the middle part, the one that's needs new chapters, I'm treating it like a first draft.  I outlined what the chapters need to be with bullet points and inserted each outline page where the chapter will be.  Now I feel free to write one chapter at a time without worrying about editing the rest.  I  finally feel like I have control over it.  I wish I had done this in June.

I have four new chapters to write - and four days this weekend to write a chapter a day.  It's exciting!!!

Once the first draft of the missing four chapters are completed, I can go back into editing mode and finish it.  Maybe I will be done by Halloween.  That would be amazing!


  1. Smiles, hugs and good luck to you!

  2. Yay for figuring out your strategy! I do my editing in three passes (usually more than one round of 3 passes, but never mind)--I go through making basic changes and marking where and what kind for BIG changes (like added chapters or total rewrites). Then my second pass, I ONLY do those--so the whole pass is pretty much a writing pass... then my final pass is for consistency and such--a careful edit. (Because my brain also has a hard time going back and forth, so that seems to work for me)

  3. Good luck with your writing. King has a lot of great advice.

  4. Glad you got a handle on it! Guess the book was good for something.

  5. @Shelly - Smiles and hugs back. :)

    @Hart - I seem to do the edits in 20 passes. Three would be better.

    @Michael - Thanks - I like the book a lot more than I expected.

    @Alex - Yes, definitely worth the $7 or $8 I paid for it.