Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Write, don't edit (yet!)

Today's post is a short one, which is odd given I am talking about ways to help you write more.

When you sit down to write, don't turn on the computer's auto editor, or the one inside your head. Let the words flow and avoid the distraction of having to get it all right as you go. There will be lots of time for that later so just let the story flow. your characters will thank you for it. There is nothing worse for an exciting character than to have his creator continually telling him or her to wait until they fix up something irrelevant to the story. Remember, your characters aren't interested at all in spelling and grammar, they want to get to the resolution of the story. They want to catch the bad guy, fall in love, or strike it filthy rich, and sometimes they want to do all that and more.

Let them be. Let them have their moment and enjoy themselves, for it wont be long until they are scrutinised by thousands, hopefully millions, and their lives will never be their own again.

If having errors in your manuscript is going to keep you asleep at night then after the days writing is done and the story has gone as far as it is going today, then jump in and do an edit, but make it a cursory one, for you will miss things in this pass anyway and we will talk later next week about when you come back and catch all those sneaky errors that hide so well even when in plain view.

Enjoy the story, let the editing come later. If, I mean WHEN, your manuscript is picked up by a publisher you will have had enough time already to do the first half dozen edits and when they say yes you will frantically edit again and look for all the mistakes you are now sure must still be there, so why spoil the fun of the first draft by swinging from creative writer to pedantic editor hundreds of times every session?

I put all this to the test last week and wrote for a whole session with the spell checker and grammar checkers on the entire time, and it was extremely successful in distracting me. So good was it in fact that anytime I don't really feel like writing I will turn it on because it will stop me in my tracks (not that I ever don't feel like writing).

So for now, write, don't edit, and when we get to that stage we will have so much more to edit!

BJR

3 comments:

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.

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