Write quickly, edit sloooooowly – update

In February I posted Write quickly, edit sloooooowly, a blog about techniques I was trying in order to get my first draft down. You can read it here.

Now I’m revisiting the subject as I’ve worked on the second part – editing slowly.

Here are my findings:

  • My self-imposed deadline for the first draft was March 1. Did I hit it? Yes.
  • I’d hoped that the second draft would be done ‘in a few weeks’. Was it? Yes, pretty much. I sent it to my agent yesterday (4 April). My deadline to send the ms to my editor is 18 April so I’m on course.
  • I expected my second draft to take more time than usual. I’m not sure that it did.
  • My first draft contained more words than usual: over 103,000. This was a worry but, as it turned out, I cut  9,000 words during the second draft without breaking into a sweat. Some of these words would have been cut out under my old strategy of editing the previous writing session firmly before going on with the present session.
  • Having completed the second draft I feel a bit sick of it. Pleased with some parts, convinced others don’t work AT ALL, and that I’ve got this relationship COMPLETELY WRONG and that relationship NOT AT ALL CREDIBLE. This is exactly how I always feel at this stage.
  • I kept a greater number of notes and a more detailed timeline. I don’t feel the time was wasted. The second draft profited from it and I think it saved me time.
  • Knowing that during the second draft I would have to cut a thread that didn’t work did prey on my mind a bit. In the past, I would have gone back as soon as I realised it needed doing and made what I’d written so far work before going forward. This is the part of the process I’m probably least secure about. Time will tell (or my editorial notes will tell) whether I’ve done an OK job or not.

At this point, I do believe that writing quickly and leaving more to the second draft has worked, so the ‘edit slowly’ part might have been unduly pessimistic. This bodes well for my tight publishing schedule.

Will I try the ‘write quickly’ technique again? Absolutely! I’m a convert.

(At least until I get those first editorial notes …)Write quickly-

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Write quickly, edit sloooooowly – update

  1. This is good advice, Sue. Having just completed my first historical, I know I definitely have to keep a tighter grip on the timeline in future. I wasted a lot of time writing a section before I had thoroughly researched the dates for the characters in question, and then had to do some fairly substantial editing. I also kept scrappy notes all over the place (note to self: be more organised!).

    Well done you!

    Like

  2. Totally agree. I’ve always edited as I’ve gone and my first draft is never far from the finished article. This time around I got SO bored of the slow plod that I told my husband I’d finished it (untrue!) then felt so guilty I raced through and finished it in a week. Now I’m editing and my second draft is a completely different book, with new ideas and vast improvements I just couldn’t have worked into a first draft without getting in a muddle. I’m loving reshaping the book with it all to play with and can’t wait to write the next one the same way. I will be incorporating some of this advice next time – stopping editing at the beginning of a writing session is a particularly important one I think!

    Liked by 1 person

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