Old 12-02-2012, 06:29 PM   #1
uberundunter
Virgin
 
uberundunter is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeastern U.S.A.
Posts: 19
Endless tweaks

I am a would-be author trying to finish a first submission. I am sure some of you experienced authors will be able relate to my questions and perhaps will offer some guidance.

1) When tweaking a draft, if cutting, pasting, and inserting a form of literary quick sand? Is it generally better to rewrite a paragraph from scratch?

2) Do you ever come up with clever phrases or descriptions, then alter the story around them? Is that, generally, as stupid a thing to do at it is turning out to be for me?

3) Does the need to convey EVERYTHING, in perfect form, subside with the second and subsequent stories? Is it partly a matter of learning to write with reader's perspective as the focus, rather that writing what you wish to say? I feel like a hamster on a treadmiill; I try to stop, but story wants to keep going.
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 06:41 PM   #2
Harry Leg
Literotica Tofu
 
Harry Leg's Avatar
 
Harry Leg is offline
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Under the shadow of the moon
Posts: 1,532
Quote:
Originally Posted by uberundunter View Post
I am a would-be author trying to finish a first submission. I am sure some of you experienced authors will be able relate to my questions and perhaps will offer some guidance.

1) When tweaking a draft, if cutting, pasting, and inserting a form of literary quick sand? Is it generally better to rewrite a paragraph from scratch?

2) Do you ever come up with clever phrases or descriptions, then alter the story around them? Is that, generally, as stupid a thing to do at it is turning out to be for me?

3) Does the need to convey EVERYTHING, in perfect form, subside with the second and subsequent stories? Is it partly a matter of learning to write with reader's perspective as the focus, rather that writing what you wish to say? I feel like a hamster on a treadmiill; I try to stop, but story wants to keep going.
What do you mean by writing with "the readers perspective as the focus"?
You have to know who is telling your story. Thats the perspective you have to write from. Beyond that, the story will let you know when its done.

You can try 1) and 2) of the above strategies and sometimes it will work and sometimes it wont. It depends on the story. you have to just keep figuring out what works where and when and what doesnt as you go along. That does get easier though. You learn what works best in what situation. They're all tools in your toolbox.

Brevity is the soul of wit. ~WS
3) You dont want to convey EVERYTHING. At least not in detail. You need to say the most with the least. This makes the reader fill in the blanks with imagination. Very effective.

At least thats been my experience. For what its worth. Hell, what do i know.
Good luck and welcome to lit
__________________
Harry Stuff





And so, may Evil beware and may Good dress warmly and eat plenty of fresh vegetables
~The Tick

You sir, are a meaniehead. ~ Vella
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 06:50 PM   #3
SamScribble
Yeah, still just a guru
 
SamScribble's Avatar
 
SamScribble is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Out there
Posts: 15,906
Here’s my take:

1. If cutting and pasting works for you, then cut and paste. If it leads you into quicksand, try a different approach. Everyone’s approach to polishing is slightly different.

2. Yep, I think we all come up with clever bits that we are reluctant to lose. But they usually have to go anyway. As some wise fellow (Quiller-Couch?) once advised ‘Murder your darlings’. Your prose will usually be better without them.

3. Writing what you mean to say doesn't mean overwriting. Often plain and simple is best. Try reading a few pages of Kurt Vonnegut.

And good luck.
__________________
‘Writing is the ultimate decision-making experience. Every paragraph, every sentence, every word, is a decision.’ – Michael Bremer
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 06:52 PM   #4
TxRad
Dirty Old Man
 
TxRad's Avatar
 
TxRad is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 28,772
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Leg View Post
What do you mean by writing with "the readers perspective as the focus"?
You have to know who is telling your story. Thats the perspective you have to write from. Beyond that, the story will let you know when its done.

You can try 1) and 2) of the above strategies and sometimes it will work and sometimes it wont. It depends on the story. you have to just keep figuring out what works where and when and what doesnt as you go along. That does get easier though. You learn what works best in what situation. They're all tools in your toolbox.

Brevity is the soul of wit. ~WS
3) You dont want to convey EVERYTHING. At least not in detail. You need to say the most with the least. This makes the reader fill in the blanks with imagination. Very effective.

At least thats been my experience. For what its worth. Hell, what do i know.
Good luck and welcome to lit
Harry about covered it but I will add, Write for yourself and then let the reader decide what they like. The only person you can truly please is yourself.
__________________
New Story: Party Early 10/02/14 Romance Halloween Contest

New Story: Marley 08/21/14 Interracial Summer Lovin' Contest


Why yes, I am a dirty old man. Thanks for asking.

All Stories By TxRad
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 06:57 PM   #5
PennLady
Literotica Guru
 
PennLady's Avatar
 
PennLady is offline
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 8,603
As Sam pointed out, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. You may find that a number of writers follow similar methods, but not because there's a rule that says they must. It's just that they've found those methods work for them.

If you can cut/paste/insert and fix up your paragraphs, then do that. If not, try something else.

If there is a phrase that you want to keep but it isn't working, try cutting it from that scene, but save it somewhere -- maybe you can use it later.

And I agree that you don't want to describe every detail of every thing for the reader. Write your story, run it by a beta reader and/or an editor, and when you're ready, post it. Readers will find it, read it and respond. It may not be what you're expecting, but once you have "released" your story, it's out of your control.

For me, that's one big reason to write for yourself. You'll never please everyone else out there.
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 08:23 PM   #6
uberundunter
Virgin
 
uberundunter is offline
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Southeastern U.S.A.
Posts: 19
Thanks to all of you for your responses. I am taking them to heart.

Less Faulkner, more Hemingway (or Vonnegut).

Or, "I regret I did not have more time, so that I could have written a shorter letter."
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-02-2012, 08:32 PM   #7
sr71plt
Literotica Guru
 
sr71plt's Avatar
 
sr71plt is offline
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid-Atlantic, USA
Posts: 34,355
1. I do a minimal amount of tweaking (mostly typo and spelling correction) a minimal amount before sending it off to the editor. Contrary to most writers, I think, though, my drafts become longer with review. (And at some point that isn't a good thing.)

2. No.

3. I equate my approach to writing with my study of Chinese brush painting--apply the minimum number of brush strokes possible to convey the image.
__________________
______________________
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-03-2012, 06:59 AM   #8
NoJo
Pore speler, great riter
 
NoJo's Avatar
 
NoJo is offline
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Lying in the gutter, looking up skirts
Posts: 14,587
I use cut and paste the whole It's important when moving sentences around to make sure you have the insertion point correct before you paste. time.
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-03-2012, 09:46 AM   #9
oggbashan
Ancient writer
 
oggbashan's Avatar
 
oggbashan is offline
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Facing the sea.
Posts: 27,968
Self-editing usually misses something.

You can polish the immediacy away from a story.

If you post it before you are wholly satisfied with it, someone will probably notice the mistakes and tell you. You can then edit the errors.

The only time you'll be satisfied with a story - is when you are dead!
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-03-2012, 03:57 PM   #10
Bramblethorn
Mallory Heart Surgeon.
 
Bramblethorn's Avatar
 
Bramblethorn is offline
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Australia (occasionally USA)
Posts: 3,118
Quote:
Originally Posted by uberundunter View Post
1) When tweaking a draft, if cutting, pasting, and inserting a form of literary quick sand? Is it generally better to rewrite a paragraph from scratch?

2) Do you ever come up with clever phrases or descriptions, then alter the story around them? Is that, generally, as stupid a thing to do at it is turning out to be for me?

3) Does the need to convey EVERYTHING, in perfect form, subside with the second and subsequent stories? Is it partly a matter of learning to write with reader's perspective as the focus, rather that writing what you wish to say? I feel like a hamster on a treadmiill; I try to stop, but story wants to keep going.
#1: I do it both ways, depending on how much of the paragraph needs changing. I do spend a lot of time rewriting paragraphs trying to get them just right; I'm not sure how much of that is productive and how much is OCD.

#2: Yes, but if I catch myself doing it, I'll usually chop that out again. I'm trying to tell a longer story, not showcase individual aphorisms - if they fit into the story great, if not too bad.

#3: Not for me, but at some point I have to resist it and trust that I've given the reader enough to understand the story. Maybe I don't need to describe the pattern on the carpet, etc etc.
__________________
New for the 2014 Halloween contest: Red Callum, Sweet Cate. Cate promises to sleep with Callum if he'll prove his courage by spending Halloween in the old crypt... how could this possibly be a bad idea? Please read and vote!

Stories: http://www.literotica.com/stories/me...ge=submissions
E-books: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bramblethorn
Blog: http://bramblethorn.dreamwidth.org/
Avatar pic borrowed from http://www.oglaf.com with permission.
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-03-2012, 07:18 PM   #11
lovecraft68
Bad Doggie
 
lovecraft68's Avatar
 
lovecraft68 is offline
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Closer than you think.
Posts: 19,899
#1- I always "rebuild" I never totally rewrite.

#2- Not so much ever an expression(although I have some times used an extra line of dialogue if I can set up a good one liner)

I have however, written stories around a single act or "vision". If its a hot image I will write the story to feature it.

#3. I write the way I feel and hope the correct audience finds me. I make no effort to find the specific crowd because you'll drive yourself crazy with that.

I write until I feel the story has told itself. If it seems long I'll trim some, but my theory is better to have to much than too little because its easier to take away than to have to add.
__________________
Something "real men" should know.

The queen is the most powerful piece in the game of chess and frequently has to protect the rather weak king.

Just like in real life.
  Reply With Quote

Old 12-03-2012, 11:28 PM   #12
TinyBeth
Really Experienced
 
TinyBeth is offline
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 227
I am still new enough that I clearly remember writing my first story. I was obsessive about getting it "just right." Even with the help of editors you will still see something that sticks out and annoys you once it is posted. That is ok. Learn from it and you shouldn't make the same mistake in the next story.

I will cut and paste occasionally. Sometimes a paragraph just works better with the sentences switched around.

Clever phrases sometimes do have to be cut or re-worded. It hurts, but it's often necessary. I banged my head against my computer for weeks figuring out just the right way to convey my character Rick's arrogance while also getting across how someone could put it aside and be attracted to him anyway. I would do it a bit differently now that I have more experience, but eventually you have to put it out there or you will never finish the story. My VE told me that and I rolled the dice and finally stopped the endless tweaking and posted it. While that debut story isn't my highest rated I am still pretty proud of it all things considered.

It will never be perfect. Nothing is perfect. All you can do is write the story you want to write and let the readers come to you.
  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 05:33 AM.

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