Since revising is my crutch at the moment, I thought what better way than to work through it than to start a conversation about it. So here we go:
I'd especially like to hear from other pantsers--we who do not outline and develop a story as we write it-- like me. If I spend too much time trying to outline and figure out all the details before writing the novel, I never get to the writing part. This leaves me with a messy draft. And since I know the story, sometimes I can't see the mess as well as someone else.
I know we are all different and have our own style of writing and revising, but I'm hoping someone has some tips to share that could work for me, too.
And thanks so much for all the welcomes!
I also am a panster. And you are right. The story is outlined in your head so why do it on paper? What I do is write the entire first draft, then go back and read it from the beginning to critique it as if it were someone else's work.
Then when I'm satisfied that it's where I want it to be I submit it to my critique group. They undoubtedly find some things to smooth out or that need more clarification.
Sometimes the things that don't work for them I still leave in because it's hard for another person to know what fact or piece of information is important to the end of the story.
Then, I work on something else for a week or two, come back to the manuscript and print it out (all of it) to read it as one whole book and you'd be surprised at the words and sentences that you originally put in there that a few months later you can't remember why. So delete them.
I'm currently revising one of my novels and so far I've cut 1300 words using this method and I'm only halfway through the manuscript.
Don't know if this is anything different than what you are doing, but it seems to work for me. :)
Thanks for the tips on revising. I am currently revising with similar methods. Another one that seems to help me is to read the manuscript aloud. I can find clunky language that way.
The part I need to work on is critiquing as if it's someone else's work. I think that is a great way to approach the manuscript. I saw a post on the wall of the First Pages Group linking to a blog with a flow chart that has some great questions to ask while revising and critiquing. The chart is from "The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide." I ordered the book from Amazon earlier today. It might be just what I need.
Hi. I'm new around here. I'm mostly a pantser, too, although I do insist on knowing a few things about the story before going forward. Still, one of the best parts is discovering new things about the story as I go. I've currently got two MG books, one complete and one needing at least one more round of revisions. Both potentially the start of a series. Both are also fantasy.
I use a similar method. I basically only let myself go forward in the first draft--no going back. Except, I will allow myself to go back and make a note about something I need to develop more or a bit of foreshadowing I might need to add. Stuff like that.
I let the first draft rest for a month or so. I need that long to get some perspective on it. Then I read through and make those revisions I had made notes about. The next couple of drafts are to correct things I often miss in the first draft--build up side characters, add more scene setting, more internal thoughts, etc.
Then I let it sit again for a while before going through it one more time and turning it over to my critique group. Sometimes, that sparks some new ideas. Often they point out plot holes. Of course, there are also comments that I just don't agree with. It's hard learning to take critiques. Sometimes, it's even harder to learn which critiques to ignore.
Right now, on the book that needs revisions I know I need to trim the first part dramatically and expand the ending a bit. I'm still thinking about that. Especially about one scene that nobody but me seems to like. I know sometimes you have to kill your darlings, but I like the bit of world building that's shown in that scene. And it will come back in later stories.