Editing and Revision

6 months ago | LambentTyto (Member)

Was wondering how much editing and revision everyone does before posting their stories. Do you do a polish and then throw it up, or do you rework chapters, rewriting and revising them before you do that? I suppose this question has a lot to do with each writers individual process, but I was wondering how much flak a web writer might get for basically putting up relatively clean first draft stuff that's basically had a single polish, such as typos fixed and maybe a sentence or three changed for clarity?

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Responses

  1. theredsheep (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    Well, nobody will get mad at you per se, but they might lose interest or patience. I started putting up my serial, got three or four segments up before I realized the beginning had serious flaws, took it all down to fix it and put it back up. I think a bunch of the early readers I asked to look at it might have stuck around if I'd got it right the first time. Nobody wants to read a fixed version of something they've already been over. It's confusing. From this point on, I'm doing minor fixes only--typos and such.

    Of course, this is my first web serial, and I had all of twelve site page views from four people today, and that's exciting to me. Let's see how the more experienced crowd weigh in.

  2. revfitz (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    This will sound crazy.

    I reread my chapters, editing as I went. I would then send it through Grammarly for whatever I missed.

    I would then leave it alone for a day and then go back to it and have the computer read it aloud to me at an i n c r e d i b l y slow pace. This meant that I would catch things that I otherwise wouldn't and would be forced to look at it more critically.

    The story was mostly dictated by whatever breakfast I ate that day or by the breakfasts readers would suggest, so storywise I was pantsing the entire time.

    Hi! I wrote a story about breakfast and lobotomies. Take my advice with a grain of salt.

    Existential Terror and Breakfast--A serial with cereal.
    Updates Wednesdays at: revfitz.com
  3. LadyAnder (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I'm in the minority here. I have to have my novel completed, revised and edited with multiple drafts before I post.

    I don't post rough drafts of a story online anymore. I know I'm going to be unhappy with the end result and feel the need to change something because I over looked something. Yes it takes me a long time to share writing, but I'm more happy with the story results and I'm less likely just to rip it all down because it isn't the story I want.

    I couldn't imaging if I posted the sequel I'm working on as I wrote it. The original version is trash and definitely wasn't the story I wanted to tell. I would've stalled out hard and probably would leave it incomplete.

    A cross-genre slice=of-life, some adventure fluff fantasy stories about elves--> https://brotherhoodarchive.com
  4. ElliottThomasStaude (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    So, the Simulacrum of Dread was tackled like so, up until about three-quarters completion:
    1 Write portion of story of variable size. Polish portion of story in isolation.
    2 Staple to chronologically previous or following portions of story, polish together.
    3 Determine whether additional stuff belongs between any other two portions of story; if so, goto 1.
    4 Repolish with an eye for canon.
    After a certain point of plot cohesion, it became a more straightforward “write the next bit” affair, which is the approach also being employed for the sequel.
    Note that this resulted in things like what would eventually become part 14 being written long before part 4. While the style of the work is so far fairly homogeneous, note also that I am influence a bit in my production on account of being a software dev/programmer in the daytime, and so tend to take weird long tangents on some trains of thought.
    In the end, there have been a tiny handful of places where additional edits were required after the official posting date, but I try to keep these to places absolutely necessary for internal consistency and egregious typos; this last is a bit more difficult on account of a large percentage of the vocabulary being fictional.
    Also, the sporadic upkeep of a glossary interrupts production on occasion as well.
    In short, do not emulate without a very good reason or unless you want to wake up in the morning wearing a squid as a hat.

    If you've a head for holistic science fantasy, the Library may oblige: https://www.thomas-generalized-recountings-library.com
    If you've a dislike for lengthy names, I'm so sorry.
  5. LambentTyto (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    @revfitz You're scaring me, bro.

  6. LambentTyto (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    @ElliottThomasStaude

    Yeah, you too!

  7. Dary (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    It will all depend on the story you want to tell. If you're writing something with a constant forward momentum, for readers who are only interested in what happens next, you don't need to worry so much about long-form planning, rewrites and revisions. If, on the other hand, you've a complex, layered story with multiple protagonists and interwoven plotlines that encourage the reader to look back and engage with past content, rewrites and revisions come highly recommended.

    Basically, don't disrespect your readers (or yourself!), and put in at least as much effort as you expect them to give.

  8. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I don't post first drafts for ATL, period. Revision (which entails rewriting, plot finangling, character switcheroos, simplifications, convoluted explanations, the works) is a must IMO if you want to make absolutely sure the story works before you send it out. Because while you can go back and edit a chapter after you post it to fix mistakes or polish, what you can't do (for the most part) is change the overall plot and characters.

    So I absolutely recommend minimum second drafts for anything you put out. Unless you prioritize speed and quantity, which is up to you I guess.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  9. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 6 months ago

    I generally write in a notebook and edit as I type up onto my computer, so what I post is generally a second draft. That being said, on occasion I will be ridiculously overdue for a chapter or have written myself into a corner in the notebook and will write an entire chapter from scratch on my computer. *I* can tell that they're first drafts but I don't believe I've ever had anybody call me on it. That being said, I'm the "cleanest" writer I know based on first draft, so I have no idea whether "relatively clean" is clean enough.

    There are two camps of readers. One will forgive typos and sloppy writing if the story is engaging. The other will never forgive you. Ask yourself if the second camp will turn away in disgust, and if so, what level of effort you're willing to put in to keep them.

  10. Thedude3445 (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    Eh, anyone who gets legitimately upset over typos and small mistakes is just trying to figure out a reason to dislike what they're reading, so that's just a symptom of something else. Either they don't like the story to begin with, or there's something else they don't like about it.

    Sorry boss, but there's only two men I trust. One of them's me. The other's not you.
  11. unice5656 (Moderator)

    Posted 6 months ago

    That's certainly your opinion.

    A truly talented writer uses words in such a way that the reader stops seeing text and becomes fully immersed in the story. That is certainly the experience I'm looking for when I read. Typos, awkward phrasing, incorrect punctuation, all of that are simply things that break immersion.

  12. Rhodeworks (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    At the same time, should one really be uploading anything with issues that even a cursory Word spellcheck, Grammarly pass, etc. would pick up?

    I consider everything I upload a first draft but a polished first draft. I plan and outline heavily and I've always known where the story is going from day one.

  13. mathtans (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    Kind of late to the thread on this one, but for the record, like Dary said, I think it might also depend on the story itself.

    My "Epsilon" stories are generated through reader votes at the end of every part, so I really have no plan for where the story is going. In that sense there's no rewriting or revising, just sometimes throwing a different light on something that happened in a prior instalment. I keep some basic notes to try and ensure I don't violate any continuity, and every few weeks I try to have a quick look back to see if I left a thread dangling. But sometimes I only have the time for a quick re-read before posting.

    My time travel stories are written in advance, because continuity's a pain. I've also retroactively changed a few previously published things to the extent I can (like character language not fitting their ages) and the RRL version I put up later swapped around one part in particular. (I've also been playing with some of the characters for close to 20 years, so revisions are to be expected.)

    My math personifications (which became a webcomic) was sort of a mix, I'd have a vague idea, and queue some things up in advance, but ultimately wouldn't be sure exactly when things would happen or how many parts I would have. Incidentally, I also found character tags were of most use in that story, because I had a very large cast and wanted to remember when certain characters appeared. (For whatever reason, as soon as I log in, I can't access the responses for that particular thread, even though I can see everything just fine when logged out.)

    Anyway. In all cases I'd keep spell check going as I wrote and usually have very few typos, so this is more about reworking or not. Some authors may have a preference for certain stories too.

    Writing a Time Travel serial: http://mathtans.wordpress.com
    Writer of the personification of math serial: http://www.mathtans.ca
  14. Sharkerbob (Member)

    Posted 6 months ago

    While I've almost never done a full rewrite, I do tend to rewrite chapters as I go, if they're not working out. With Graven, I made a point to make sure the chapter was as good as I could get it before I actually posted, and if a chapter had me stuck, I didn't post it until I made sure I was unstuck. However, I don't have another person to beta-read or edit, and it seems like no matter many times I proofread for typos, I can still find more after the fact. So, I still slip up on that end, but I tried to make sure its as good as I can get it before I have to either post it or bin it.

    When it comes to my "other" work, I have typically been a lot sloppier with it, due to not taking it seriously. I have occasionally gone back and redone a chapter when I got stuck and re-posted the new version later, but otherwise, I was lax about proofreading, which I'm surprised I didn't get much more flack for when I did. But then again, that readership isn't exactly there for the "high literature" experience. :P

    However, I am definitely trying to be better about that now.

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