Alex Cavanaugh. To find links to other IWSG contributors, click here. Thank you to co-hosts for June: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria
This month’s optional question: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?
For me, wait time on a first draft depends on the project. If I’m writing an essay or a blog post, I hammer out a first draft and then wait a day or two, even sometimes as long as a week to look at it again. On return, necessary improvements become obvious. If deadlines allow, I wait again and do a final edit before sending it out.
With novels, it’s a whole different story (Lol—pun not intended but left in anyway). I tend to write chronologically from beginning to end. Whether it’s my first draft or my 12th, I usually go at it for several months. When I’m done, I give myself a week or so before starting back at Chapter one. I don’t feel like I need that much more time, because after writing or editing 80,000 plus words, when I return to the early story, I see it with fresh eyes. The exception is when it’s time to read a draft chapter or two to my writing group. I share pages with them chronologically too, and with wait time between readings they usually get a part of the story other than what I’m currently editing. Once I see the consensus in their comments, I go back to the portion I read to them and implement the suggestions.
This past month when I read pages to my group, in spite of my best efforts, they called me out on repeating a piece of information again, again, and yup, there it was again. I also used the word “coffee,” something like thirteen times. How did I miss that? They nailed me on both of the issues and I fixed it all, which helped me make that part of my book better.
Do I wish it took me less time to come up with a decent draft? Sure. But in my case, taking a breather before looking again and getting a group critique results in better work, so I’ll stick with the practice.
What is your writing process like?