After you finish your first draft, it’s time to polish and perfect your work. This part of the process takes just as much, if not more work than the actual writing, and consists of more than just a once-over. You need to scrutinize your work during both the revising and editing phases. Too often, I hear about young writers using these words interchangeably. The truth is, these are two separate and distinct phases of the writing process. Each accomplishes different things, and each deserves a serious amount of writerly attention.
Archives for June 2016
I have a couple of posts planned that will look at the phases of the writing process. I want to look at how they interact with each other and dive deeper into what they really mean. Before asking the harder questions, I thought I’d do a quick post defining these phases. Having a common vocabulary will make it easier to discuss them further. Alright, I’m going to stop sounding like a professor now. Here is how I (and many other writers) divide the process up so that it is more easily digestible. There are five phases of the writing process between having an idea and the finished product in a reader’s hands. Breaking the writing process down into phases makes writing projects (especially large ones) more manageable. So, think about where you are on your current project and figure out what phase you’re in. Think about what you need to do to complete that phase and move on to the next.
Writing is hard for a lot of reasons. You need unique ideas, voice, and flow. With all of that to keep track of, the last thing you want to worry about is accidently typing the wrong letter. At this point, you’re possibly thinking, well that’s what my word processor’s spell check is for. To this, I say, “How wrong you are!” Ok, that’s a bit dramatic. You’re not entirely wrong. Spell check will catch some of the most basic spelling and grammar errors. But what if you’ve written “fat” when you really meant “fate”? For example, you may accidently write, “Death for the girl was coming. Seeing her fat was all she needed to know.” This differs drastically due to the typo and guess what, as I’m typing this, I see no squiggly red or green underlines. I run my writing through two different online editing tools to catch mistakes like this one. I use these tools before I do the most important edit, you know, the one with a real person. It is important to understand that no editing tool can replace editing done by a living, breathing human being. I also think that it’s important to mention that I am receiving no compensation for recommending these tools. I simply stumbled upon them and found them useful. Both are free to use and have made my editing a bit easier. I hope these online editing tools can help you too! Hover over the headings to give them a try.
With only a couple of weeks left in the quarter (where is the time going?!) I thought it’d be a good time to look at the goals I set in April and see what I’ve got left to do. The other week I wrote a post about some of the tactics I use to get back into writing when I’ve taken a leave of absence. One of the things I find helpful is doing a goal check-in. Reminding yourself of the goals you made back when the quarter seemed promising and bright is essential in making sure you achieve them. Here’s a link to my quarterly goals post if you’d like to take a look. I use the lovely Jenna Moreci’s goal-making method, using a slight variation. So, let’s see what I’ve got to do in the next three weeks to accomplish at least half of these goals.
One of my favorite parts of the writing process is getting to know my characters inside and out. I want to know each and every detail about who they are, where they come from, and what their life has been. I’m fascinated by the writer’s ability to create people out of nothing. They reach a level of realism in which not only you, but others care about them as well. An important part of achieving this level of detail is knowing what your characters look like. Some writers prefer to model their characters after celebrities or people they know. I, on the other hand, rarely find someone who looks just like how I imagine the character in my head. This leads me to today’s topic. It’s time to put down the character sketches and start sketching your characters.