Old 10-31-2017, 04:58 PM   #1
kurrginatorX
Experienced
 
kurrginatorX is offline
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 30
It's Alive

Almost every writer has done it. You roll an idea around in your head, add dialogue, a little narrative, and perhaps even a little foreshadowing, and by the end of this exercise you have what you think will transfer to four MS Word pages of text. You begin to pound out the story and you just happen to gaze at the page number and find that you are now on page ten and you are nowhere near the middle because one idea beget another which created the opportunity to go in a completely different direction, but a direction that still fits within the original framework.

We hear of sports figures who say they are "in the zone," and even we, as writers, enter our own special zone at times, cranking out 150 words per minute as we convince ourselves that the story is writing itself, and this is a good thing as it is flash writing at it's purest. We are excited over the progress we make, yet a serious problem looms on the horizon; for even though a story may write itself, it has absolutely no way of editing itself.

Some people tell me that they do not edit until they have the story written in it's entirety, while others, myself included, edit our work per page or even per paragraph. I do not advise waiting until you are sitting on the final draft, if for no other reason than your brain will read what you want your text to be as opposed to what is really there--think of this as the Freudian slip of editing.

"Save often, edit often," should be a writer's mantra, and even after you have edited your own work, show it to someone who will be honest about what he or she has read. Do you really want someone to tell you everything is fine when you have misplaced modifiers, or use non-words like "mischeevious" and "irregardless," or begin sentences with conjunctions? Of course not. When these things are pointed out to you, however, they are not a personal attack on your writing ability, but constructive criticism designed to make you a better writer.

There is no particular editing style--at least, there shouldn't be--but I recently encountered something I had never before witnessed. I had occasion to find a (non-erotic) short story accepted for publication in a fairly new magazine. The editor contacted me via email and sent back a "corrected" version of my story. I asked why he suggested the changes he did--dangling modifiers, beginning sentences with the conjunctions "and" and "but"--and he stated that this is what his staff was referring to as MLF: Modern Language Format. He stated that this was the way people spoke, so framing a story in this way would make it a more widely accepted read, not to mention more economically viable. I responded by telling him that (A) writers are trained to never write as they speak, and (B) what he was doing was nothing more than perpetuating ignorance and illiteracy, not to mention making me look like an ignorant, illiterate fool. He retorted by stating that if I wanted to see my piece published, I would accept the changes he made. I pulled the piece altogether. Yes, the story could have gotten my name out there, but personal pride in my craft prohibited me from compromising my integrity on this issue.

I suggest non-reliance on spell check. I suggest finding an editor who will be honest. As far as that goes, find two or three to see if they are all pointing out the same mistakes or making the same suggestions that ensure your story is as seamless as possible. Your story will always be your story, regardless of what changes you make to it. Keep a thesaurus handy to ensure you are using words in their proper context. In short, take advantage of every opportunity you have to ensure your story is the best it can possibly be.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 05:21 PM   #2
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 51,576
What have you published that a publishing house selected and published at their expense, not yours? (Check habu or Dirk Hessian at Amazon/B&N/Smashwords for just a couple of pen names for mine.)

I do not edit as I go along (I sometimes go back and adjust or drop something in that has developed into a story thread later). I go to the end in the writing before fiddling with it otherwise. I review it once or twice--with my wordage always expanding in review (I should note that I am a professional book editor, trained and degreed). I send it to editing. When it comes back, I review it again, often adding, almost never subtracting. At each stage I put it through spellcheck and I recheck all of the quote marks. If I left that to the editor, the editor wouldn't have time or attention to give to deeper issues--and cleaning up the copy to the best I can is my job, not theirs.

I send it off to the publisher who is publishing it at their own expense and then, sometime down the pike, they send me royalties.

In U.S. fiction publishing, there is a standard style. It's provided by the Chicago Manual of Style, and, with a few exceptions, nearly every U.S. publisher (and some UK, Canadian, and Australian ones as well) use it.

Different strokes. And this isn't advice for what others do. This is a "don't take advice of what others do as what absolutely is the only thing that works for you"--and if they say it's "the answer," walk away.
__________________
______________________

Last edited by sr71plt : 10-31-2017 at 05:27 PM.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 05:48 PM   #3
electricblue66
Literotica Guru
 
electricblue66 is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oz
Posts: 1,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
Different strokes. And this isn't advice for what others do. This is a "don't take advice of what others do as what absolutely is the only thing that works for you"--and if they say it's "the answer," walk away.
Agree. From what Pilot says on the forums, he has the luxury of solid blocks of time and he writes fast - many, many thousand words a day? In his case, his "save edit to the end" sounds ideal, keeps the productivity high, gives him the benefit of the streaming flow.

By comparison, I'm juggling job, a hobby business building stuff, drawing, life, blah blah blah (fucking about wasting time here aka procrastination), so I'm characterised as time poor. I get to write an hour here, an hour there. If I'm lucky, I might get 1k - 2k words in the zone at one time. So in my situation, the OP's editing technique is mine, too. It's the only way i can keep my continuity, the mood and beat flowing smoothly. It also means my final read doesn't need to worry about the "fixing bits" because they've already been done.

I've never published for money, but i reckon I'd be be pretty pissed off if an editor tried to change my style that radically (unless it was part of the publishing deal and the editor's brief, in which case, someone just doing their job).
__________________
electricblue

My stories: https://www.literotica.com/stories/m...ge=submissions

Last edited by electricblue66 : 10-31-2017 at 05:50 PM.
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 06:25 PM   #4
NoJo
Fan of Arts & Farces
 
NoJo's Avatar
 
NoJo is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Lying in the gutter, looking up skirts
Posts: 14,951
The greatly overused, but in my case entirely apt, mantra is: "Writing is rewriting".
__________________
Latest romance: Animal Behavior
Mindfuck: The Hive
Some of My Stories: Humour: 1 2 3 4 Humourless: 1 2 Non-Erotic: 1
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 06:36 PM   #5
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 51,576
But not to the extent of killing the spontaneity or your voice. A major failing of new writers is to beat their prose to death and dullness. "Writing is rewriting" sound kicky, but it's the bane of new writers. You're either a storyteller or you're not. You were probably at your best on the first telling.
__________________
______________________
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 06:47 PM   #6
NoJo
Fan of Arts & Farces
 
NoJo's Avatar
 
NoJo is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Lying in the gutter, looking up skirts
Posts: 14,951
I think it depends on what you think you can make of the particular story you're working on. Some stuff I've written (actually my most popular stories) came pretty fast, because there wasn't much plot or character development to them. Other stories needed - yes, needed - lost of rewrites before they worked.
__________________
Latest romance: Animal Behavior
Mindfuck: The Hive
Some of My Stories: Humour: 1 2 3 4 Humourless: 1 2 Non-Erotic: 1
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 07:41 PM   #7
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 51,576
My subplots pop up as I'm writing the story. That's one reason to push to the end. I don't know what all of the threads of the story are until it's drafted, so it would be wheel spinning to do much editing until it was all drafted. Discovering what other threads are in there as I'm writing is a large portion of the pleasure of writing.
__________________
______________________
  Reply With Quote

Old 10-31-2017, 07:49 PM   #8
electricblue66
Literotica Guru
 
electricblue66 is offline
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Oz
Posts: 1,770
Quote:
Originally Posted by sr71plt View Post
But not to the extent of killing the spontaneity or your voice. A major failing of new writers is to beat their prose to death and dullness. "Writing is rewriting" sound kicky, but it's the bane of new writers. You're either a storyteller or you're not. You were probably at your best on the first telling.
So very true.

If it's not "there" in the rawness of my first draft, it's never there at all.

You can't make gold by beating tin.
__________________
electricblue

My stories: https://www.literotica.com/stories/m...ge=submissions
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-01-2017, 08:40 AM   #9
Bramblethorn
Mallory Heart Surgeon.
 
Bramblethorn's Avatar
 
Bramblethorn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 7,034
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
I suggest non-reliance on spell check. I suggest finding an editor who will be honest. As far as that goes, find two or three to see if they are all pointing out the same mistakes or making the same suggestions that ensure your story is as seamless as possible.
If you have advice on how a new author can find two or three decent editors, plenty of folk here might thank you for it. Many authors here seem to struggle to find even one editor, and quality of volunteer editors is... variable.

"Save often" is definitely good advice. Beyond that, I think most of this falls into the category "works for some writers, not for others".
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-03-2017, 04:00 PM   #10
kurrginatorX
Experienced
 
kurrginatorX is offline
Join Date: Oct 2017
Posts: 30
Apology

I find I must apologize for my inability to properly convey the message I intended to send. I believed that since I was speaking of short stories here on Literotica that people would assume that I was suggesting we all should network here, make acquaintances here, that way we could possibly find two, three, etc., people who wouldn't mind looking at our work before we publish it to this site. My mention of my experience with the "Modern Language Format" (not to be confused with MLA format) editing style was just to give an example of the wrong way a piece should be edited. Again, for those of you who misunderstood my original message, I apologize.
  Reply With Quote

Old 11-03-2017, 04:45 PM   #11
8letters
Literotica Guru
 
8letters is offline
Join Date: May 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 744
Quote:
Originally Posted by kurrginatorX View Post
I find I must apologize for my inability to properly convey the message I intended to send. I believed that since I was speaking of short stories here on Literotica that people would assume that I was suggesting we all should network here, make acquaintances here, that way we could possibly find two, three, etc., people who wouldn't mind looking at our work before we publish it to this site. My mention of my experience with the "Modern Language Format" (not to be confused with MLA format) editing style was just to give an example of the wrong way a piece should be edited. Again, for those of you who misunderstood my original message, I apologize.
I've found a two authors and several other beta-readers that I run my stories by before I publish them. What has worked for me is to respond to all PM's and emails. A very few of them turn into something longer-term.
__________________
Blog on my writing.

Latest story - My Lingerie-Loving Sister Moves In

Most popular stories - My European Summer Vacation and My Sister Set Me Up on a Blind Date
  Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:47 PM.

Copyright 1998-2013 Literotica Online. Literotica is a registered trademark.