Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Change of Plans

Ok, change of plans. I am going to rewrite my original story, focusing on a tighter plot and a precise POV, with proper motivation and goals. I received a ton of comments regarding my story and characters; they urged me not to abandon the story, which they feel is really compelling, but to focus on making it better through tighter writing and structure.

With a complete rewrite, I should be able to achieve the desired goal with a plot, story and characters I have already fleshed out.

One question: do you focus on showing rather than telling during the first draft? Or in later revisions?

The reason I ask is this: I find it slows me down, because my mind isn’t set to that mode of writing.

Thx for your support and any comment you might leave!!!


  1. Ooo good for you in making that decision. It's a tough one, but I'm excited for you! I've rewritten mine a few times and am SO glad. Each time it got better, and the story finally came through the way I wanted it to.

    Showing vs telling...oh the perpetual problem! I mean, we should ALWAYS be focused on showing - with every draft. Easier said than done, right? The more you edit and revise, the more you see what needs "shown". And, the more you write, the more naturally this happens.

    My mind also isn't "set" that way, but I find if I outline my story extensively beforehand, I can spend more time thinking about the writing as I'm writing it. Hope that makes sense.

    And best of luck with your rewrite!!!

  2. Woo hoo! Go, Jeff, go! I'm no expert, but when I'm writing my first draft, I just dump it out. I don't revise as I go, I don't look back, and I don't make corrections. If I'm telling, then I'll notice that the second time around. That's what works for me, but then again, I'm still learning something new every day. Good luck with your revision! If you have a strong and compelling story, then you're already ahead of the game.

  3. I try to write as close to the finished form as I can manage otherwise I hate it as I go.

    But you shouldn't worry about how I do it. I'm weird. You have to figure out what works for you (probably through trial and error) and write that way. There are tons of people who write rough and ready and then do multiple revisions to give it voice. There's not just one way to do anything.

  4. Personally, I have to plow through the story first. It makes for some painful revisions later, but it doesn't break up the creative flow. Best of luck, Jeff! :)

  5. If it slows you down, (and this is purely opinion), I would say don't focus on it too much now, and stress to your proofreaders and editor later to point out areas you could revise to show better than tell. I'm glad you decided to give it another try =D

  6. Yay! I know you're in for a lot of work, but I'm happy you're going to give your novel another try :)

    My first-ever draft was full of telling...and, looking back, I wish I'd showed more. I'm just finishing revisions on mine, and I have to tell you that I'm going to try and show, show, show as much as possible in the 1st draft of my next novel. But, as Stephanie Barr said, "you shouldn't worry about how I do it. I'm weird."
    Good luck! :)

  7. Remember one thing: tell the story YOU want the WAY you want to. Showing and telling are both important because at some point you will have to utilize them both to either show, or tell something. Good luck! I'm also most anxious to see what you'll write!

  8. I say just go for it and write whatever comes to mind and worry about making sure you're 'showing' and not 'telling' later on. :)

  9. For me, the editing is when the real story is created, so I don't worry so much about the finer details. I tried to explain it to my artist son. That first draft is just a rough sketch of what you're doing. Once you have the basics on the paper (a completed first draft), then you can go back and do your shading and colors and depth.

    Good luck.

  10. I tend to do more telling in the first draft. Really, my first draft is a POS. Which is probably why I love revisions so much. That's where the story comes alive. The first draft is just getting the structure down, giving yourself something to work with.

    good luck!

  11. I say write the story as it comes to you. You can always fix it later. Best not to stifle your creative super power.

  12. Hi Jeff! Nice to meet you. I found you through Donna Weaver and was intrigued by your website.

    I've decided to follow you as I am on the same journey. Maybe I can learn right long with you.

    I've met such wonderful people her on blogger and have learned more from them than I could using any other source in the world.

    Feel free to come on over to my "place" as we share some of the same friends here in the blogosphere.

  13. You have to find what works best for you. I tend to work on the 'pretty' in later drafts. I try to work as fast as possible on the first draft and not worry too much about writerly mistakes. At this stage structure is the most important... for me, anyway.

  14. I'm sure everyone's already said this, but it's different for everyone. You have to experiment to find what you're comfortable with. The rough draft is just that though, so you shouldn't stress too much. Just knowing you are committed to revising is important, and I find the more I write, the more I kind of soak in the mistakes from the last time around and auto-correct as I dump out the first draft, so that I have less micro-corrections later. But again, that's me, what matters is what works for you!

  15. I agree with Lisa--you should stick to the process that works best for you. Some people write bloated first drafts and then need to tighten the second. Others write thin on the first draft, and add description & showing on the second.

    Just do whatever promotes your creativity so you can get the story down. That's always the best for a first draft. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  16. I don't write novels, but I do agree that anything that works for you is fine. In my PBs, I just try to make sure the story arc is there for the first draft. Then I work on the language (rhythm, rhyme, alliteration, etc)

  17. Jeff, I haven't completed a novel (yet). The longest thing I have completed is a chapter book. I can't tell you how many times I've revised it. Right now I'm revising it again, based on an agents suggestion of changing it to first person. I think each time I revised it I found a way to make it better...to make the characters more fun. Good luck with your revisions. I know you can do it. :) It just takes time and patience.

  18. I agree with most of those above, Jeff...everyone has their own process and what works for me might not work for you. You have to try lots of systems and then develop your own process. (And your process will likely change as you get more experienced and learn and improve your craft. You'll streamline it when you get more comfortable with what works for you.)

    You've read my blog long enough to know my 'system' is to write the first draft as fast as I can...then agonize and fester and slog through painful revision hell. I go through many (many) passes/drafts to get it in clean and pretty.
    If I was a outlining type of girl and planned ahead, perhaps my first draft wouldn't be such a mess. But, it's my process. I've tried outlining...so many times, and it just doesn't work for me.
    I don't have a problem with telling in my first draft, so I don't spend much time with that issue in revisions...my issues are generally structure/plot holes (again, because I don't pre-plot or outline). And then I do a pass adding layers and depth and any other devices I feel it still needs (subtle foreshadowing, etc.).

    I wish you well on your journey. Take your time, experiment, enjoy the process.


  19. Hi Jeff,

    Just wanted to let you know you won the egift card on my blog!