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In Defense of Rewrites

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Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62

My Q1 entry 'did not place.' It was a rewrite of my Q4 V37 entry which got an HM. The 'improvements' I thought I'd made mostly amounted to substituting a more emotionally compelling ending. Go figure.

On the other hand, Last week I received word that the very first story I ever wrote (back in 2016, on Notepad) has been accepted for publication in an Anthology. This was the first time I submitted it to any market. Over the years, I've submitted that story to workshops, coaching sessions, and two critique groups. It's probably been rewritten two dozen times. It started out the prequel for a Steampunk novel I was going to write and is now a stand alone straight fantasy. I doubt if I'll ever write a novel. Two weeks before the Anthology's deadline, I started the final rewrite (hopefully) using everything I've learned since version 1. I was about to hit the 'submit' button, re-reading the Anthology specs one last time and discovered that an excessively violent story wouldn't be considered. There were three days left to do a FINAL final rewrite. Over night, the story went from 50,000 or so horrible, gruesome, murdery deaths to one sorta merciful, instant death by murder and an accidental 'instant karma' death.

The Anthology sent me a contract it while there was still 12 hours to go before the deadline.

I do my best to follow Jerry Pournelle's advice to start writing the next story when the last story is finished. My critique group, it's only my turn about three times a year. I don't have a lot of free time to devote to writing, Maybe finishing half a dozen stories per year. I do pull out old stories from time to time for a fresh look.

What have the rest of you experienced with rewrites? 

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2021 6:16 am
RETreasure
(@rschibler)
Silver Star Member
Posts: 725

First off, congratulations on the publication!

Also, half a dozen stories a year is a good pace, I think, and there's nothing wrong with a balance of fresh and rewrites. I often tweak my stories as they come back from markets before I send them back on their way. 

Just as part of the general conversation, though, I feel like the risk with rewrites is two-fold. First, we can be a little precious with our ideas and cling to one or two we are convinced is THE ONE. Very, very few ideas are so good that the idea itself is what is important. It all comes down to execution, which leads me to the second problem - if we're spending so much time on re-writing and editing that we're not writing fresh. Writing fresh is the best way to grow our ability. Like Wulf said (I'm paraphrasing) somewhere else recently, writing fresh tunes our creative ability, whereas rewriting tunes our editing ability. We need both, but at least for me personally, the more I write fresh, the less editing I have to do. (Sometimes. Sometimes a story just needs more work.)

That being said, with targeted rewrites you can see amazing results! For me, I just make sure to keep writing fresh, too.

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: F, SHM, P, P
Available for critiques - PM for availability.
www.rebeccaetreasure.com

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Posted : April 26, 2021 6:40 am
CeciBlack and Agathon liked
crlisle
(@crlisle)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 234

My rewrite of a Silver HM got a HM this 1st quarter. I wish now that I had just released this Kracken into the market and submitted a fresh story.

2020 Quarters: 1st -- R, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- SHM
2021 Quarters: 1st -- HM, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- Pending
"The Last Dance" to be published Feb. 2022 in the LTUE Anthology, Parliament of Wizards
"My Ten Cents" published in Sci Fi Lampoon, vol. 2, Dec. 2020
"Never give up. Never surrender." - Galaxy Quest

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Posted : April 26, 2021 6:45 am
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Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @rschibler

First off, congratulations on the publication!

...

Just as part of the general conversation, though, I feel like the risk with rewrites is two-fold. First, we can be a little precious with our ideas and cling to one or two we are convinced is THE ONE. Very, very few ideas are so good that the idea itself is what is important. It all comes down to execution, which leads me to the second problem - if we're spending so much time on re-writing and editing that we're not writing fresh.

...

For me, I just make sure to keep writing fresh, too.

Rschibler, thanks for the kind words.

Good points about writing fresh vs editing.

Thanks for the insights!

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2021 7:58 am
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @crlisle

My rewrite of a Silver HM got a HM this 1st quarter. I wish now that I had just released this Kracken into the market and submitted a fresh story.

Second guessing one's self is always perilous, tongue  

It's not too late to unleash the kraken!

I'm playing 'what if' over whether I should have submitted this story that sold to WotF first. That sort of thinking is definitely alluring but not real productive.

It's best to move on without looking back, IMHO. Just a general view of the arts.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2021 8:11 am
Reuben
(@reuben)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 216

I can't personally add anything to this, except that I hate rewriting. I do it when I need to, but it kills me.

@crlisle This reminds me to something that happened to fellow forumite E. Caiman Sands. She got a semifinalist from K.D. whose critique was "This story really has no plot." Which was true, although it was chock-full of other stuff, which was why it got so far. So she took out the story and forced more plot into it, then sent it out to all the pro markets. It got rejected every time. Finally, she took out the old draft, sent it out to a semipro market that paid professionally, and it got accepted immediately. Her first sale. She said she regretted all that tweaking, because it might have sold in its original form. 

I guess what we see is that if you're rewriting it because the story is flawed and you want to better it for yourself, then do so. But just endless rewrites before submission has serious risks. Not least because you are no longer in the flow of the story. shrug  

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM

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Posted : April 26, 2021 11:09 am
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Agathon
(@agathon)
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Posts: 62
Posted by: @reuben

@crlisle This reminds me to something that happened to fellow forumite E. Caiman Sands.

......

Finally, she took out the old draft, sent it out to a semipro market that paid professionally, and it got accepted immediately. Her first sale. She said she regretted all that tweaking, because it might have sold in its original form. 

Uhhh, don't you mean it did sell in it's original form?

One of the things that's becoming obvious is what a competitive market WotF is.

The quarterly deadlines are really useful for me since writing is a practice I cram in to the nooks and crannies of my life. Some day I'll retire and I plan to do the Bradbury Challenge, a short story a week for a year. Then probably spend three years rewriting all those stories.

laughing

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2021 12:23 pm
CeciBlack and crlisle liked
Reuben
(@reuben)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 216
Posted by: @agathon

Uhhh, don't you mean it did sell in it's original form?

 

My mistake, you're right. I forgot the rest of the story. Unfortunately, a few months after its acceptance, the market closed down for lack of funding or whatever. And that was the end of the story for that story. For professional markets, at least.

Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm ~ Winston Churchill
V37: R, R, R, HM
V38: SHM

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Posted : April 26, 2021 3:44 pm
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @reuben
Posted by: @agathon

Uhhh, don't you mean it did sell in it's original form?

 

My mistake, you're right. I forgot the rest of the story. Unfortunately, a few months after its acceptance, the market closed down for lack of funding or whatever. And that was the end of the story for that story. For professional markets, at least.

Oh, that makes me sad.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 26, 2021 4:29 pm
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 984

I'm up for defending rewrites. I've always rebelled against the notion of only writing new - for one reason - because I suck at idea generation. If I sat around staring at a blank page, then I'd have half the entries I have now, which is already half that I should given when I started.

Some would argue that once I got going on a rewrite, it shut off the idea valve. Perhaps, but I'm a boring guy leading a boring life (in terms of action/adventure, not my peeps, who are awesome).

I look at LRH in the navy, flying ships, I think he was even a real pirate for a while and I'm like, sure, he could write adventure because he was legit an adventurer. Me, sometimes I go shopping for fresh veggies to cook. Oh, oh, and sometimes I use ....... spices.

So when I get an idea and write it the best I can and submit and get a result other than a win (read: all submissions), I consider if I can pluck the core idea and rewrite around it. Or pluck the characters and give them a new idea.

However, I will say that I'm currently on a kick for idea generation. The rewrites were great for sentence honing, but I think I'm good there at this point... I just downloaded a few samples of how-to books talking specifically about this. I've begun taking notes in a notebook (a what?). And I do think I may be able to teach myself how to generate ideas without becoming a pirate.

------

Side note: The 450 group helped immensely with this. A deadline, and guaranteed readers was a boon. I'm itching to restart it, and am looking at perhaps June 15. I've got some ideas for the sequel, too.

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 5 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : April 27, 2021 5:40 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1093

Writing fresh is good, but there's nothing wrong with rewrites. (Also, for those of you who rewrote and got lower results--remember, this isn't the only market, and other markets might feel differently.)

Two of my first four story sales were at least partially rewritten (not counting the initial editing phase). One of them needed to have all the flashbacks and a subplot cut out before it sold; the other needed a different ending.

If I have a story that's been five to ten places with no real luck, I'll usually look it over to see if I can improve the prose or fill any plot holes I might have missed on the initial writing. This doesn't always result in extensive rewrites, but sometimes a story needs the work. Then I send it out again and let it make the rounds for awhile.

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : April 27, 2021 7:18 am
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Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @axeminister

However, I will say that I'm currently on a kick for idea generation. The rewrites were great for sentence honing, but I think I'm good there at this point... I just downloaded a few samples of how-to books talking specifically about this. I've begun taking notes in a notebook (a what?). And I do think I may be able to teach myself how to generate ideas without becoming a pirate.

I don't know about you axeminister, but my first word processor was a #2 pencil and it worked like a charm for decades. I still carry a 3 X 5 notepad in my pocket for those random moments when inspiration strikes. And to remember to buy toothpaste.

Idea generation waxes and wanes. But it seems like the more ideas I have the more I think of, especially if I write them down.

Being a pyrate is over-rated. Most of them died young in gruesome ways.

I'm old but new to writing fiction. The kind of sculptures I make, there's no rewrites, only do-overs. A lot of mechanical designs are like that too. Rewrites are unfamiliar but it's really helpful to hear how others approach the question.

Thanks everyone who's replied so far.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 27, 2021 8:54 am
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony

If I have a story that's been five to ten places with no real luck, I'll usually look it over to see if I can improve the prose or fill any plot holes I might have missed on the initial writing. This doesn't always result in extensive rewrites, but sometimes a story needs the work. Then I send it out again and let it make the rounds for awhile.

disgruntledpeony, this makes me wonder if you have a writer's group or beta readers?

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 27, 2021 8:57 am
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 125

I feel like I spend more time revising and rewriting my stories that I do writing them the first time. However, since I am new, I haven’t resubmitted any rewrites to the competition.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, P

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Posted : April 27, 2021 9:23 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1093
Posted by: @agathon
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony

If I have a story that's been five to ten places with no real luck, I'll usually look it over to see if I can improve the prose or fill any plot holes I might have missed on the initial writing. This doesn't always result in extensive rewrites, but sometimes a story needs the work. Then I send it out again and let it make the rounds for awhile.

disgruntledpeony, this makes me wonder if you have a writer's group or beta readers?

I am part of a writing group, and I should clarify that I usually consult them as well, but if they've already seen a story a couple times I don't want to give them story fatigue. In that case, I'll sometimes do story trades outside my usual group, but if the story just needs clean-up of old prose I'll do that myself.

A lot of my stories that tend go need rewrites are actually older ones, from before I joined my writer's group, which does mean I can ask them for feedback. Is nice. Sometimes a story requires more work than I'm ready to put into it, though, and that's usually when I retire a story. (I've only technically retired three so far, although I have a few that are pushing on toward retirement. There are two that I couldn't find markets for but then I decided I wanted them out in the world anyways, and those are on my website along with my first published story.)

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : April 27, 2021 10:28 am
Reuben and Agathon liked
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @disgruntledpeony

 

A lot of my stories that tend go need rewrites are actually older ones, from before I joined my writer's group, which does mean I can ask them for feedback. Is nice. 

disgruntledpeony, thanks for the clarification.

I use both a writer's group and beta readers. I don't ask them for more than two reads if I can help it. My beta readers are too fanly. They're best with grammar and punctuation. But neither one is a sci-fi fan so if they 'get' a story usually that's a good sign. My V38 Q2 submission was only beta read, we'll see how that turns out.

The writer's group is especially good for advice about whether the world building or conflict makes sense. If most of them get it, I know I'm on track. Unfortunately we've had high attendance in the writer's group since the pandemic started. We used to meet in a bar and would allow twelve people to sign up. We were lucky to have six attend. Since switching to Zoom, there's a waiting list. We routinely have fifteen attend. The critiques have gotten better and hearing each other in the bar used to be a problem.

If twelve people don't get something it's a good indication that better explaining is needed.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 27, 2021 11:06 am
crlisle liked
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 984

@agathon

Writing down ideas, or snippets, is essential! Not only to not forget it, but also to not rehash it. Write it down and move on to the next thought.

I had a great opening sentence the other day. Classic, said everything, hook... forgot it. I *always* think I will remember, and I do not.

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 5 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : April 27, 2021 11:32 am
czing, Agathon, Reuben and 1 people liked
pdblake
(@pdblake)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 114
Posted by: @axeminister
 
 *always* think I will remember, and I do not.

Describes me perfectly. I have a notepad next to the bed for grist and my own sanity. grinning  

www.pdblake.co.uk

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Posted : April 27, 2021 11:38 am
AlexH
(@alexh)
Silver Member
Posts: 250

I've never done a full rewrite but find I learn a lot from editing old stories.

I resubmitted an expanded HM (was <1,200 words) to 5,000+ words, but most of those original 1,200 words remained the same. It received another HM.

I think my best two ideas for WotF are stories I haven't submitted yet, because they do need a full rewrite. With hindsight, I wonder why I submitted other stories instead of them, but perhaps it's only with hindsight I've thought they're my best ideas.

I always read through stories after a rejection and generally find something to improve. After my most recent rejection, I noticed I'd used the same relatively unusual word within a couple of paragraphs of each other.

35: - R R R | 36: R HM R R | 37: HM HM HM SHM | 38: HM HM

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Posted : April 30, 2021 3:26 pm
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @alexh

I think my best two ideas for WotF are stories I haven't submitted yet, because they do need a full rewrite. With hindsight, I wonder why I submitted other stories instead of them, but perhaps it's only with hindsight I've thought they're my best ideas.

This kind of begs the question, 'when is a work of art finished?'

Salvador Dali supposedly said something like, 'Art is never completed, only abandoned!'

Probably, submission ready would be a good criteria for done. Anything after that should be considered a rewrite.

If you look at the OP above, I rewrote the final version for the express purpose of conforming to the editor's preferences, which is always a good idea but not really the point of the thread. It was all the rewrites that went before. I wrote it, submitted to critique group, rewrote it, submitted to workshop, etc.

I learned a lot from that story.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : April 30, 2021 4:48 pm
Cray Dimensional
(@craydimensional)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 125

I self published a novella 3 years ago. (I used self publish as a way to share with friends and family). It was the first story I wrote and a story dear to my heart. However, now I am wondering if I should rewrite it using lessons I learned here.

Small steps add up to miles.
V38: R, R, P

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Posted : May 1, 2021 11:05 am
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @craydimensional
 
However, now I am wondering if I should rewrite it using lessons I learned here.

I think that passion for a story is a great motivator.

Artists create because it's inside of them and they have to let it out.

In the beginning, your hopes, dreams, aspirations are to create a work of art that's 10 out of 10. In the beginning, all I could accomplish was maybe a 4 out of 10 and that's probably pretty optimistic. Assuming a 4, that six point deficit is what I call my Constructive Discontent. Having passion for the story (although this applies to every kind of art) keeps you slogging along in the face of discouragement or impatience with your skills and accomplishments.

When I was learning figure sculpture, I used ceramics as the medium. I can assure you, there are no, count them, zero rewrites in ceramics. So if I didn't like something I my only choice was a do-over. I made dozens of some things. I went through an 'Ogre' series, a 'Mermaid' series, a 'Steroid Abusing Barbarian' series, a 'Dragon' series. All of it developed skill.

The awesome thing is you'll never get to 10/10. It's more like you level up.

So yeah, rewrite that novella!

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : May 1, 2021 1:01 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 123

I have re-written a couple of my stories.

What I sometimes find tricky is that if I try to write 2000w a day (or x amount a week, etc) and I spend time just editing already completed drafts, it's hard to judge how much I've written. I normally time myself now.

Needless to say, that 'first 1 million words are rubbish' deal is tricky to work towards when you're really excited about various stories but they need editing!

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, P

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Posted : May 2, 2021 6:23 am
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

Needless to say, that 'first 1 million words are rubbish' deal is tricky to work towards when you're really excited about various stories but they need editing!

The first time I heard something like that it was, "If you practice your craft two hours a day for two years you'll achieve mastery." Which would be 200 hours. I can't imagine writing a million coherent words in two hundred hours. But, 'your first million words are rubbish' might be overly harsh.

The increase in skills at the beginning of that two years will probably be more dramatic than the increases at the end.

The Ray Bradbury Challenge is to write a short story a week for a year, which would be about 250-350K words. He said that when the prevailing technology was the typewriter. I think modern writers can and do ruminate more than Hubbard, Bradbury, and their contemporaries did just because a word processor allows that. I'm sure I do.

If you're the kind of person that likes to prepare structure for a story's plot or detail a character's backstory, that would count toward the two hours a day, even though you wouldn't necessarily be accumulating words written.

Personally, I think 200 hours is when you've mostly quit making rookie mistakes which is an odd definition of Mastery. For me, in martial arts, after 200 hours I wasn't even half way to mastery but your results may vary. As a sculptor, I gained mastery in a hundred hours but I had a lot of transferable skills.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : May 2, 2021 11:18 am
Disgruntled Peony
(@disgruntledpeony)
Gold Star Member
Posts: 1093
Posted by: @scott_m_sands

I have re-written a couple of my stories.

What I sometimes find tricky is that if I try to write 2000w a day (or x amount a week, etc) and I spend time just editing already completed drafts, it's hard to judge how much I've written. I normally time myself now.

Needless to say, that 'first 1 million words are rubbish' deal is tricky to work towards when you're really excited about various stories but they need editing!

The easiest way to handle that is to only count 'finished stories' when it comes to wordcount. Yes, it means you might take longer to reach your million words, but it also means you might start doing well before you hit that mark. (The actual number is bound to vary from writer to writer, anyway. As long as you keep working to improve yourself, you're making progress--and there's more than one way to make progress when it comes to writing.)

If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it. ~ H.G. Wells
R, SF, SHM, SHM, SHM, F, R, HM, SHM, R, HM, R, F, SHM, SHM, SHM, SF, SHM, 1st Place (Q2 V38)
Ticknor Tales

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Posted : May 2, 2021 7:34 pm
Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
Bronze Star Member
Posts: 123

@disgruntledpeony

Definitely agree with that.

And yeah, it's not like 1 million words is a magical number that as soon you reach **POOF!!** you're amazing. It's different for everyone. The number is more of a guide.

I personally don't mind looking for ways to improve my work. The word count will come.

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, P

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Posted : May 2, 2021 7:52 pm
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @agathon

The Ray Bradbury Challenge is to write a short story a week for a year, which would be about 250-350K words. He said that when the prevailing technology was the typewriter. I think modern writers can and do ruminate more than Hubbard, Bradbury, and their contemporaries did just because a word processor allows that. I'm sure I do.

OK, I just read Wulf's SUPER SECRETS #13 DON'T OVEREDIT! Just like all his SUPER SECRETS 1 - 12 it's excellent.

He's in the 'Defense of Good First Drafts' camp. It takes a while to get there skill-wise, to say the least.

"What I’m also saying is that the more you write, the less you will feel it necessary to redo what you have created." Wulf Moon, SUPER SECRETS #13

Rumination might be a trap beginners fall into today because with word processors, they can.

There are some arts where the prevailing beginner mistake is to stop too soon. I can see where in writing it could go either way.

In the meantime, I have a story that received an HM, it was R'd by three paying markets. It's told 1st person. I'm going to rewrite it in 3rd, we'll see how that turns out.

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : May 3, 2021 6:34 am
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 984

I'm looking at rewriting my Q3. How's that for maturing as a writer...

It's got a fatal flaw that I've tried to edit around, and it's not working, so I'll take what I know and start again. I have one more piece to fit in the mental puzzle, then words can be written. The thing with short stories is, for me anyway, I generally write them quickly after I start. So I'm trading a week of not writing, for a week of rewriting. I'd rather be at the keyboard than staring at the wall hoping an idea with smack me in the brain.

'Course, I'd rather be a pirate and have ideas literally smacking me in the brain, but alas, I get seasick standing on a dock. Twas not meant to be.

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 5 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : May 3, 2021 8:37 am
Reuben liked
Agathon
(@agathon)
Bronze Member
Posts: 62
Posted by: @axeminister

I'm looking at rewriting my Q3. How's that for maturing as a writer...

Already? Oh well, if it makes you want to write, you should go for it!

Agathon McGeachy
Figure Sculptor, Mechanical Designer, Reformed Rakehell, Writer
Vol 37, Q2: HM
Vol 37, Q3: HM
Vol 37, Q4: HM
Vol 38, Q1: R
Vol 38, Q2: the waiting is the hardest part
Now in print: NIWA 2020 Anthology 'Escape' available on Amazon
Coming soon: NIWA 2021 Anthology 'Forbidden'

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Topic starter Posted : May 3, 2021 9:04 am
Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
Gold Member
Posts: 984

Well, the style, I mean. The critiques I've received have been awesome, and helped me nail down the story. The story will remain, but the words will change. Guess that's the same for any positive reaction to feedback.

2x Finalist
2x Semi
6x Silver
9x HM
1 of 5 SilverHM. 1 of 3 DSF: Short Stories. My Finalist #1 Finalist #2 coming soon in 4th & Starlight

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Posted : May 3, 2021 2:21 pm
Agathon liked
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