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Old 12-09-2017, 05:22 AM   #1
Bebop3
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How Much Tinkering?

How much tinkering do you allow yourself to engage in before publishing your story?

Editing my own work seems like a never ending process. I'm constantly finding better ways to phrase things and new bits to add.

When do you say enough is enough and publish what you're working on?
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:47 AM   #2
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I edit as I go along, by reading over the previous session (500 - 750 words typically) before I start the next - which helps with continuity and keeps the rhythm of the writing. I do this several times in a rolling forward basis, fixing typos, changing words here and there.

I rarely rewrite, sometimes add a sentence, delete repetition. I seem to be lucky - my first draft is usually 95% there, and I don't need to scrub all that much. When it's all done, I might leave it a day or two (never longer), read it over several times, run spell checks, various "find words" for known bad habits, then submit. Or, in the case of the long multi-part thing I'm in the middle of, park it and start the next chapter.

I'm pretty ruthless with myself - once something's written, that's usually it. I edit for errors, not to second guess myself.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:46 AM   #3
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I write and edit a little as I go along. Once something is finished, I'll go back and read through it and eliminate any grammar errors, repetitive words or phrases, or anything else that seems awkward. And that's about it. I don't often 'edit' more than the one time. Not because I'm 'that good,' but because I feel like it's good enough, and mainly because I have so many ideas in my head that it's more important to me to get them out than to obsess over editing just a few.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:50 AM   #4
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I tinker constantly while writing. I go back and fiddle with what I've already written. I jump ahead to get an idea out and the mess with it once I catch up. I'll send a finished story to an editor and then tweak while I wait for the response.

I'd never finish a story if I didn't set a rule for myself. My rule is, once I get it back from an editor and make any changes I agree with, I wait 24 hours, then read through the whole thing one last time. That's my last chance to tinker. As soon as I'm done with that read through, it gets submitted.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:12 AM   #5
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Almost none. I edit as I write; by the time itís done, itís almost a finished product. I do read back through one more time, but thatís more to find typos and continuity errors.

Even when I was in school, I never could understand the whole ďfirst draft, markup, second draft, markup, third draftĒ process. It seems very unnatural to me.
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Old 12-09-2017, 10:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igottapussy View Post
I write and edit a little as I go along. Once something is finished, I'll go back and read through it and eliminate any grammar errors, repetitive words or phrases, or anything else that seems awkward. And that's about it. I don't often 'edit' more than the one time. Not because I'm 'that good,' but because I feel like it's good enough, and mainly because I have so many ideas in my head that it's more important to me to get them out than to obsess over editing just a few.
I wish I could work the way you do, but I tend to follow the example of LoquiSordidaAdMe and ElectricBlue66 - I constantly tinker and I find it slows me down. The thing is - as a new idea pops into my head I have to jot it down, and that often requires me to change something that happened earlier in the story, so it 'fits'. I'm probably a bit OCD in that respect, as I like everything to be 'just so'.

I'm very new to the idea of publishing what I write. Most of my early work (work? huh!) was never intended for publication (certainly wouldn't be passed for this site anyway), and I only have a couple of stories published here so far - another on the way soon though

I'd be interested in any comments or suggestions
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:09 AM   #7
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i don't start until i know the whole plot and have several vignettes planned. it goes pretty fast for me that way because there is a minimum of improvisation. after i've done a first draft, i proof it for spelling and grammar, then i wait a day and reread. usually on that read through i find typos, repetitions and phrase i might want to change. i also try to add detail where needed. i've found that the second reading is the most important, approaching with a clear head.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rae121452 View Post
i don't start until i know the whole plot and have several vignettes planned.
I work completely oppositely. I come up with a rough outline of a plot and vague conceptions of the big scenes, then go straight into writing it. My stories are generally developed a couple paragraphs at a time. I'll know pretty much where the story needs to go, but the meat of it is created almost spontaneously. For example, in the story I'm writing now, there's a little snippet where I describe what one of the female characters is wearing. When I got to that point in writing the story, I figured it'd be one paragraph or a couple short ones. It turned into 700 words spread out over a page and a half (in Word). When I write, it's kinda like things just sorta... happen.

And, in response to the OP's question: I'm gonna echo a couple of the other posters. I write stories in chunks, editing each chunk as I go. I tend to only read the entirety of my stories twice, partly because I've already done the bulk of my editing and mostly because I hate reading my own writing.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:26 PM   #9
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Very little tinkering. I don't want to lose the spontaneity of the original. Usually one drafting, at as few sittings as possible, one review, it goes to the editor, I clean it up and review it again, and that's it. I usually add detail with each review. I almost never cut anything out of the original. (I've been writing for over two decades for publication and have professional certificates in editing and publishing, which help me stay on track and in bounds.)
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wkd_Macey View Post
I wish I could work the way you do, but I tend to follow the example of LoquiSordidaAdMe and ElectricBlue66 - I constantly tinker and I find it slows me down. The thing is - as a new idea pops into my head I have to jot it down, and that often requires me to change something that happened earlier in the story, so it 'fits'. I'm probably a bit OCD in that respect, as I like everything to be 'just so'.
Loqui and I are quite different - I do a quick rolling edit for continuity and rhythm, but I rarely make any significant changes to the text. Typos, stupids, change a word here or there, but that's it - I keep it pretty raw, very stream of consciousness.

Loqui's told me he scrubs and reworks, changes his mind, drives himself nuts - which is why he's now got his "break the pencil" rule, to try to stop himself doing that.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:56 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John988 View Post
My stories are generally developed a couple paragraphs at a time. I'll know pretty much where the story needs to go, but the meat of it is created almost spontaneously. For example, in the story I'm writing now, there's a little snippet where I describe what one of the female characters is wearing. When I got to that point in writing the story, I figured it'd be one paragraph or a couple short ones. It turned into 700 words spread out over a page and a half (in Word). When I write, it's kinda like things just sorta... happen.
Copy that. I've got one long shaggy-dog story here where I was ten chapters in and a major plot twist jumped into my head between the first sentence of a paragraph and the last. Took me another 13 chapters to figure it all out!

And in my Rope and Veil story, the whole idea of Amelia using ropes to bind herself happened literally in the turn of a phrase. I had no idea that one was coming.

Plot ahead of writing, wots that all about??
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Old 12-10-2017, 10:24 PM   #12
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I'm not real experienced yet, but I have no problem with tweaking a story until I feel like it's done.
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Old 12-11-2017, 05:19 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bebop3 View Post
How much tinkering do you allow yourself to engage in before publishing your story?

Editing my own work seems like a never ending process. I'm constantly finding better ways to phrase things and new bits to add.

When do you say enough is enough and publish what you're working on?
When I go through a story and only work on the wording a little but don't find any more mistakes, it's time to send it to the editor (who then finds tons of mistakes I've missed as well as holes in the storyline big enough to park a car in them).
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Old 12-11-2017, 09:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastgq View Post
My rule is, once I get it back from an editor and make any changes I agree with, I wait 24 hours, then read through the whole thing one last time. That's my last chance to tinker. As soon as I'm done with that read through, it gets submitted.
Why does that sound familiar?
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:34 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoquiSordidaAdMe View Post
Why does that sound familiar?
Because it's straight plagiarism. beastgq really is a creep.

ObTopic: I found it best, back when I was writing, to 'finish' a piece, editing as I go along, run a final spellcheck, then put it aside for a day or two. Look at it again, fresh, re-reading in a different font, seeking problems and inspiration. Run another spellcheck, then submit.
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Old 12-11-2017, 01:27 PM   #16
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In my case, I probably should differentiate between when I've prepared something for market publication from when I prepare it for posting to Literotica, somethings more than a year later. What I noted earlier is what I do for the first publication. For Lit., I review it again before sending it. Sometimes I do plotline rewrites, not necessarily to correct anything as much as to bend it into a slightly different story. But it's already been in the marketplace for some time. I don't take this as a time to do much of any polishing.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:16 PM   #17
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Thanks for the input.

I appreciate everyone's point of view.
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Old 12-11-2017, 04:26 PM   #18
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I tend to always begin with a basic written outline of the idea/plot...duh ( Side note: Virtually everything I write is founded on the main theme of love and the discovery of that love (a prominent sub theme is the normality of non-binary gender and/or sexuality) For what it's worth; I was taught that a "story" without a theme isn't really literature. It's this 'theme' that I'm selling, the plot is just the pretty vessel it comes in.

1. I write in chunks until I'm tired, do a quick review/edit, then close up the shop.

2.When I sit down to it again (either next day or next week), I read the whole thing again from the beginning. This is to both refresh my memory and to get back into the characters and story, etc. I almost always find either more typos, repeat phrases... or if I get bored with it while reading, eliminate or add to try to bring it more life. Once I'm again satisfied, I resume writing. (If it bores me too many times, I just scrap it as a bad adventure.)

3. Repeat #1 and #2 until finished.

4. Once I'm satisfied, I have someone else read it... which always requires a minor bit of tweaking.

I tend to get more into the "minds and emotions" of the characters in my stories and less into a lot of...what to call it - extended physical descriptions of sex, bodies, and physical sensations. That's not something I intentionally set out to do, it's just the way my mind works I guess. Thus, the original outline idea usually goes off course somewhere in the early to mid point in the writing based on the direction the characters "minds" have taken the story.

Disclaimer: I'm not a professional author...just a hobby writer
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:06 PM   #19
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I have only been writing seriously again for about 10 months. I was a little rusty, so I have been re-learning some techniques and learning some new things. As such, I think my process takes longer than it should. But, I hope that as I continue to write, I will get more efficient. However, I am fussy, so I imagine I will always take somewhat longer than truly necessary. lol

My current process...

1) I make a file for an outline and for character development. (I didn't in the beginning and I spent a lot of time searching for things within the story to avoid inconsistencies. It takes me so long to write a story due to 3 little munchkins that interrupt me continually, that I need the file.)

2) I edit as I write. I usually finish a section and then reread it to myself, making some changes.

3) Once I get a bigger chunk of a story done, I read it out loud to my husband. I edit as I read aloud. T

4) When I have completed a story, I run it through spellcheck and then through the free version of Grammarly. That picks up almost all the comma errors and wrongs words that are spelled correctly.

5) Sometimes I have a friend-author read my story for edits/suggestions. If I do, then I go through their edits thoroughly.

6) Then, I put the story down for maybe 3 days-ish so I can come back to it with a somewhat fresh view. I read the story in entirely, editing as I go. (by this time, I have already read and edited by section at least twice.)

Because I get so many interruptions, it can take me a month to finish a 15-20 MS Word story.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:02 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bebop3 View Post
How much tinkering do you allow yourself to engage in before publishing your story?

Editing my own work seems like a never ending process. I'm constantly finding better ways to phrase things and new bits to add.

When do you say enough is enough and publish what you're working on?
Tinkering understates what I do. I do major re-writes, sometimes while I'm still writing a story, sometimes during the editing process, sometimes in response to feedback to beta-readers, sometimes all three. I'm on version three of the story I'm currently working on and I'm not even halfway done.

Once the plot and characters have stabilized, I spend a lot of time doing editing passes. It's natural for me to write very poorly - I accidentally use homophones all the time, frequently have random extraneous words in my sentences, randomly leave out words (I leave "not" out of sentences all the time - really messes with their meaning), use "that" way too much, etc. It takes a lot of buffing to get one of my stories into publishable condition.

So I'm very envious of all of you that can write a story straight through and then only have to do one pass of editing. I would get so much more published if I could do that, but I can't.
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Old 12-12-2017, 04:08 PM   #21
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I edit as I write.

When I have a substantial part of the story written, perhaps 2,500 words, I will print it as a hard copy. I put it in a ring binder, sit down with a pen in hand, and go through looking for inconsistencies, typos, wrongly used words and poor spacing of paragraphs.

Before I start to continue writing that story I will do all the amendments I have marked on the hard copy.

After another 2,500 words I repeat the process for all 5,000 words.

Once I have completed the story I print it, check again, make any necessary amendments and wait a day or so before printing, hopefully for the last time.

I have a mono laser printer that is cheap on toner, and I use supermarket's basic white paper for the printing. But a 10,000 word story could use 150 sheets of paper before it is posted.

All the earlier drafts with ink amendments are shredded before the paper is recycled...
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Old 12-12-2017, 09:39 PM   #22
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That's pretty clever Oggbashan, a little computer screen reading can go a long way. After awhile the eyes begin playing tricks, and I'm no longer really proof-reading...just skimming.
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Old 12-13-2017, 06:38 AM   #23
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Probably too much editing

After my first draft, I used to let it sit for a day and then read through it once fixing errors along the way. That wasn't enough for me and I missed a lot of errors in the two stories I have posted so far. I have started a new process that helps me catch different types of mistakes.

1)I print out my story and mark on the paper any mistakes or notes for things to add. I ask myself a lot of questions on the paper as I go. After I have an edited hard copy I go through and make those changes, mostly for plot or missing descriptions.

2) Next, I run it through the Grammarly website to catch any spelling or grammar errors that I have missed.

3) Once I have a near-finished copy I use Word's read-aloud feature to read the story to me. This helps me improve sentence fluency and catches some of the words that might be repeated too much or used incorrectly.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:06 AM   #24
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Not too much, I just read through my story a couple of times, trying to imagine how someone who has never seen it before would view it. It's mostly just to fix grammatical errors, but I sometimes change around sentences to make them flow better. When it comes to writing I've found that excessive editing can completely change a story and not always for the better.
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Old 12-13-2017, 07:17 AM   #25
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I alternate between bursts of fast writing and periods of slow writing and I tinker and edit along the way. When I'm done I take several days to revise, proofread, and edit. I still miss mistakes. So I need ample proofing time. I also tinker with word choices and with adding interior dialogue so scenes don't come across as merely mechanical. Some stories take me months to write and I tinker with them a lot.
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