Saturday, May 19, 2012

Closing in on the Ending

This week, I got maybe three new chapters written and three chapters edited.  It's less than what I wanted to do, but definitely better than nothing. 

I've been working on this novel on and off for about a year.  My critique partner has given me feedback on the first twenty chapters, and I've edited them twice, once before she read them and once after getting her feedback.  I've been working on the ending chapters with the idea firmly fixed in my mind that those 15 chapters, the ones I've written since January and only I have seen, are kind of a hot mess.

It's hard to keep writing when you aren't certain about the chapters supporting the ones you're trying to write.  Maybe that's just me, but it's really uncomfortable.

So I physically separated those fifteen chapters from the others - like literally, in a separate report binder, and I've been working away at these chapters while adding new chapters to the end.  It may be a little nuts to be in editing mode and writing mode at the same time, but it seems to be working for me.  Once I edit a chapter and reprint it, I take the old one out of the binder. 

The chapters I thought were rough at best are shiny and perfect now (perfect enough for a first draft).  I'm unbelievably excited about what I wrote.  That feeling, that euphoria, is why I love to write.  It's like runner's high but without all the sweat.

I'm getting closer and closer to the ending, and it feels FANTASTIC.

Today I have time to write two new chapters and edit at least two (fingers crossed).  I also need to work on my vegetable garden, one of my several new obsessions. 

I've definitely been lagging on reading posts and commenting here.  I'm certain you all understand.  Must finish the novel.

Do you edit as you go?  What do you do if you aren't comfortable with previous chapters? 

36 comments:

  1. Tonja, that sounds like you got a lot done to me! And if separating the chapters helps you, good.
    I don't edit as I write. I write slow enough (as I'm always pausing to find just the right word or phrase) and the first draft is the least favorite part of the process for me. I just want to get it done so I can begin editing, which is much more fun.

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    1. I don't write slowly - I kind of blurt it all out as fast as I can and hope for the best.

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  2. How exciting to have the end in view! You have to do what works for you and it always comes together in the end.

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    1. I went to the coffee shop with my daughter and edited eight chapters on paper. Yay!

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  3. I tend to edit as I go. I'm a very slow writer (in part because I edit!) and so I'm very deliberate about what I write. But if I do find I've written a chapter that doesn't sync with the others I usually end up having to pull it out and rewrite it. I'm not afraid to start over from scratch on a scene or chapter if it isn't working. Often it's the best thing I can do, rather than try to make a square peg fit in a round hole.

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    1. I agree - I think it's better to scrap a chapter than to force it to fit.

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  4. I don't edit as I go. I am a slow writer and I write one draft and then go back through it multiple times. The first edit happens after I write a rough draft. The second edit happens after my first reader remarks on what works and what doesn't in the story. Then more edits. BTW...I hate editing. I'd rather write 10 brand new rough drafts than edit an MS once.

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    1. I think I like editing as much as writing - to a point. After the 4th pass, I usually get to feeling like I'm never going to get it right.

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  5. it's all good and understandable.

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    1. I hope you're getting through your MS too, Shelly.

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  6. i have never edited as i wrote--but it is a thought!

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    1. I think it's interesting how everyone does it differently.

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  7. I feel your pain. I edit as I go on somethings -like the basics. the content editing. UGH,just shoot me.

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    1. I take it you don't like the editing?

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  8. Hi Tonja, I'm stopping by again to award you with the Stylish Blogger Award. It can be picked up on my blog. Congratulations!

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  9. I've found it best for me to blaze through the first draft with out looking back. Then I go back and edit. But that's just how I work. It keeps me from getting into a edit and edit again and edit again cycle and not get anything done.

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    1. I think everyone has a different process. It's interesting to see how other people do it differently.

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  10. That is awesome! Hey, whatever works for you, right?! Sounds like you are making really good progress. I have never had one but love vegetable gardens. My parents always had one and it is so nice to eat fresh from your own yard. Have a great day!

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    1. Thanks! I got a lot done this weekend - 10 chapters polished, and I worked out the ending chapter. I feel like I'm finally back in my groove.

      I do an organic garden - everything tastes so much better without all the chemicals.

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  11. Love reading about the euphoria you felt, it's such a rush, isn't it? Congratulations on being so close to the finish line. I hope you have a productive day with both your writing and your garden!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I actually got a lot done with the both this weekend. I planted peas about a week ago and didn't realize they needed a trellis. So we took care of that this weekend and planted more vegetables. I probably look like the crazy gardening lady, I have so many raised gardens in my tiny back yard and so many pots on my deck.

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  12. You're making great progress! I can't edit until my first draft is done... or, I CAN, but it makes me much more loathe to make huge changes and cut full scenes because i've put that much more work into them. I am, by nature, a hoarder--I hate to throw out... but if I write a fast first draft, it is significantly easier to cut the stuff that no longer fits once I have the ending sorted.

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    1. I think it would be hard to cut huge parts of a story.

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  13. Congratulations with all your progress. I am avoiding the whole editing process all together. But I am really proud that you are going along as strongly as you are.

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  14. I like your strategy of separating chapters. It helps to really rip and tear during the editing stage. ;)

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    1. I did rip and tear a lot today. Now I have a very tidy manuscript with very little left to finish. :)

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  15. I always finish writing and then go back. Can't wait to hear that you typed, 'The End.'

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    1. I am very motivated to get that last word done before I leave for vacation. I really don't want to take a laptop to the beach.

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  16. I understand exactly what you mean. I suggest finishing this draft. You're going to end up editing anyway. I have the same tendency though. I was getting that 'naggy' feeling while editing a ms, and stopped, went back and started over chapter by chapter. But I'm in final edits, so I needed to do that. But go and finish first, since you know you have editing ahead anyway. Yay on your progress.

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    1. Honestly, I think this strategy is working better for me. I've already had the first half critiqued and am meeting with my CP next week to go over another chunk. I am more effective and productive (and happy) when I write like I used to write software. I feel so lucky I had that job - and don't now!

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  17. I used to edit as I went but then once I finished (which took forever) I found I had to delete certain scenes I'd spent time prettying up. So now I wait until I finish before I start editing. It saves time. But that's just me. You have to go with what works for you.
    Good luck reaching that magical finish mark. :)

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    1. My problem is I get lost and then disinterested in writing more if the previous chapters are muddy. And I've had huge blocks of time (like a month or more at a time) where I've had to put it down. I feel much more confident now that I've edited 10 chapters leading up to the ending.

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  18. This is why we write, eh? :) enjoy that writer's high!

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  19. I got to 66,800 words today, an addition of about 4500 words this week!

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