Mmm, Brain Pie. Care to Donate?

It’s been a really rough week and I’m glad it’s finally Friday.  Mass Effect 3 here I come!Well, hopefully I’ll find some time to play, as I have a test that I need to study for on Monday, but that’s a story for another time.

What I wanted to talk about today is a post I was reading just this morning.  The post was titled: There’s Writing, and Then There’s Writing by Catana.  She has quite few thought provoking posts on writing and I enjoy reading her blog.

In this post she spoke about writers who write one draft of their novel and do a couple of edit and then publish it.  I know there was more to it than just that, but it got me thinking about my work.  I’m a pantser – to put it in NaNo terms – a writer who writes by the seat of his/her pants without an outline to go off of.  My writing runs off of pure creativity and when I’m done writing, at times my stories can have a good number of plot holes.  I won’t say that any of my stories are ever complete right off the bat, there is plenty of editing that goes on, but the way I write, the way my mind seems to work, I write like I’m watching a movie.  I don’t know if anyone else writes like that, but that’s just me.

Anyway, when I set down to edit, I usually don’t end up making that many, if any, major changes to the story.  This is definitely true of Star Catcher.  I only added on a couple of chapters to tie up a few loose ends that I thought the story had, but not much more than that.  Then I did a few more cursory passes to catch other minor errors and inconsistencies, speaking of which, I still have a minor couple I need to correct still, and then I went about publishing it.  Star Catcher is the first story I’ve ever published, so I don’t expect it to be or consider it to be perfect in any sense of the word.  I wrote the story that I wanted to hear and polished it up enough to where it wasn’t awful to look at and put it out there for anyone else who wanted to read it.

Needless to say, I’m a beginning writer, but looking back on what I’ve written, there are very few stories out of the ones that I have or am writing that I used an outline or didn’t come out the way I wanted the first time.  There is an exception to that though.  The novel that I wrote for this last NaNo which is set aside for now needs some major tweaking before it will be ready for any reader other than me too touch.  It needs a chapter revised and a I need to finish up the last part of it.  I was trying something new with it and don’t know if I like who it turned out.

With Theo’s Story, that one I wrote from an outline, and it turned out nicely I think, and I didn’t have to do too much editing on it.  This last pass that I’m doing currently is to catch spelling mostly.  I do have one part that I want to look at, but it’s nothing major.

Anyway this is just my introspective rambling and the flow of my thoughts on the matter, and if it seems like I’m looking too deep into my own methods, this tends to happen a lot.  Don’t worry, I’m not going to go all emo, it’s just the way my brain works.

The point to this is, and there is a point, for those of you who read Star Catcher, and the few who’ve read Theo’s Story, do you think they are complete?  Do they need more major editing before they are worthy of being deemed “good”?  If that even makes any sense.

And I’m not fishing for approval of my work now.  My one pet-peeve about writing is that I can never seems to get good feedback on my work.  Don’t get me wrong, everyone who helped me to edit Star Catcher and Theo gave excellent feedback and I am thankful for that!

I’m probably digging myself into a metaphorical hole here with this blog post.  I was trying to start a discussion, but I don’t think I’ve mastered the art of writing a good thought provoking post just yet.  I’m rambling again.

Does a “good” book need to take a long journey of editing and revising before it’s published?

Can a book that turned out the way the writer wanted on the first draft and only needs a little editing in the eyes of the writer be considered complete and ready to publish?

Food for thought — or thought for food.  Mmmmm, brain pie.  Care to donate?



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2 responses to “Mmm, Brain Pie. Care to Donate?

  1. Thanks for mentioning my post. Some good brain pie here. In answer to your final question, I’d say yes — conditionally. If you’re new to fiction, and don’t have a lot of more general writing experience behind you — no. Knowing how to edit, what to edit, and whether a book is really finished, is a learning process. It’s not something you’re going to be that good at the first time. If you’ve been writing for a while, have more than one novel under your belt, and have a good grasp of the mechanics of writing and of story structure — probably. If you have all that and you’ve also developed the ability to be very objective about your writing – yes.

    I grew up on the classics, have years of non-fiction writing behind me, and several years of correcting high school and college compositions, but the only part of novel-writing that prepared me for was getting the grammar and vocabulary right, and having a general sense of what good fiction was all about. I’ve been learning the rest as I go along.

    • You’re very welcome for the mention. I enjoy reading your posts, they definitely get me thinking. And you definitely have a point with the answer being conditional. I really didn’t take that into consideration fully and I think that would make all the difference. Writing has been quite a learning curve for me, now that I think about it, so writing a book in that manner does come with experience. And my first few stories that I wrote in high school, I abandoned and never looked back. These last few I’ve actually been happy with and have had a more objective outlook with how I want them to turn out.

      I’m still a new to all this, so thanks for the feedback! As much research as I’ve done on the subject, I’ve never really looked into the full process of what it means to “finish” a book. I’ve just wrote and edited and been pleasantly surprised with the results. This is the first time I’ve published anything too. But the first stories I wrote did teach me quite a bit so there is something to be said for that and the classes I took in high school as well. I can’t say I grew up with the classics, but I will say I have read a good chunk of the Star Wars books out there when I was younger. I guess it does come down to the advice I always hear everywhere, “just write and then write some more.” Or at least that’s the gist of it.

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