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My latest book is a huge mess and I don't know how to fix it?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by TheCrystallineEntity, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. I must say that with my last book, I took the #2 approach. Rereading that book was a weird as hell mess. But something extraordinary has happened. Just from rereading and taking notes, I now know what to do to the first 30 chapters to fix them and how I'm going to do it. Something I never could have figured out without first having written the book. Having the book written changes everything in some cases.

    I tried #1. As I said, blocked for 2 years.

    Maybe this discussion suggests that the OP needs to first figure out what kind of writer they are, or what works for them. Writing this book might be a part of that, though. So the OP could pick either approach and get out of it the benefit of seeing what works for them.
     
    Steerpike likes this.
  2. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Okay....

    The way I see it, either you can:

    1. Spend a huge amount of time on the first draft and have little to fix

    OR

    2. Dash off the first draft and spend a huge amount of time fixing it.

    (Or any variation on a spectrum between those two.)

    The first approach might save time, true. Problem is, if you write like I do, you can't write that way. I discover what kind of story I'm writing as I write.


    Spending a huge amount of time on a first draft with little to fix= editing as one goes as in the context of this conversation. So, why the contradiction then?
     
  3. I've fixed it! I've fixed it! *happy dance* Well, sort of. Basically I've found a way to combine all of the elements of the story in a way that it still makes sense: The Princess Bride approach.

    So far, my book is divided like so:
    Part I: The framing device is laid out--four childhood friends from a magical realm read the newest book by their favourite author, Annonymous X [me].
    Part II and III: The book that they are reading [White Darkness] is presented in full.
    Part IV: The childhood friends decided that they don't like the ending, and hire a warping wizarding detective to track down the author and ask him/her to write a better ending. Naturally, after many hilarious adventures, it is revealed that the 'detective' is actually the author all along, in disguise. The other characters are not remotely happy about that, but the author agrees to write one sentence more to fix the ending, and promptly vanishes afterwards. It is then revealed at the last minute that the magical world is in fact the magic planet from my previous book, but thousands of years into the future.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2017
  4. Reaver

    Reaver Kwisatz Haderach Moderator

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    No need to get personal here. As my colleague Skip pointed out earlier, let's try to lay off the personal pronouns when disagreeing with someone's opinion.
     
  5. Thanks to everyone for all of their suggestions!
     
  6. Annoyingkid

    Annoyingkid Banned

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    If we look at the beginning and put a huge amount of the consideration into the scene list, how much easier is that? Compared to combing through hundreds of pages of text. If we have a firm idea of how these characters will develop from the beginning, before we even start the first draft we can know early what we're dealing with.

    Discovery writers won't plan much but why not evaluate and edit the first quarter, then the half way point, then the the third quarter, then the full draft. Because if you change one thing early on that often creates a ripple effect in the narrative that requires changes later on, if not throughout in order to keep continuity, that ups your workload tremendously. No one wants to keep having to look through hundreds of pages of first draft.

    And psychologically when you've got so much content it's difficult to switch huge chunks around and make radical structural changes. So ultimately why make life harder for yourself?
     
  7. I guess for me it's just easier to write the first draft, and then go through it bit by bit as I type it out. It may make no sense, but that's the way it works for me.
     
  8. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I recently came across this quote about martial arts, but I think it applies to writing in genaeral.

     
    TheCrystallineEntity likes this.
  9. ^That basically summarizes how I live my life.
     
  10. Yes! That's perfect.
     
  11. Christopher Michael

    Christopher Michael Troubadour

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    For a discovery writer, it really isn't difficult. Even for most plotters, or people like me who fall in between the two extremes, it's fairly simple. In fact, it is far simpler for me to edit after the first draft has been completed.

    In answer to the OP, it looks like you've got it will in hand to this point. If I were going to make a suggestion from here forward, it would be to keep a running timeline and plotline. Write down what has happened already, and anything that comes to you for in the future. That has helped me tremendously.
     
  12. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Then why come on here with a billion questions if you're just going to ignore what people say? Not you specifically, Penpilot, j/s in general. If anything, this conversation has given me perspective on whose questions I'll avoid answering from this point forward, which is a real shame because I enjoy helping out my fellow writers.
     
  13. TheKillerBs

    TheKillerBs Inkling

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    You can't do what everyone tells you. It's impossible because people give conflicting answers. You have to pick and choose which ones to roll with and which to disregard, but even the answers you don't use are still helpful as long as you gave them due consideration.
     
  14. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    When someone asks for help/suggestions they're not obligated to do any and/or all things offered up. As long as they're respectful and give things due consideration, there's nothing wrong with them saying not for me. Often just the conversation and discovering what one doesn't want to do is just as valuable as a straight up solution.
     
  15. Did I do something wrong? :(
     
  16. Christopher Michael

    Christopher Michael Troubadour

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    No. Apparently some people, me included,have issues
     
  17. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    Nope......
     
  18. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    I wasn't referring to either of you. :) So, no, Crystalline. I'm glad you resolved the issues with your story.

    In fact, I was making a general statement overall given some of the responses in this thread and behavior I've observed over the course of some time. Can we please get past it though? We're all entitled to our opinions here.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2017
  19. Christopher Michael

    Christopher Michael Troubadour

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    No worries. I was talking about our issues staying on topic. Lol
     
  20. ^^Some of the people on the other forum I go on are quite silly, similar to what you described.
     
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