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Revisions vs. Proofing vs. Rewrites

Crumbly Writer

Okay, between the arguments over different Constitutions and the fights over whether to use "of" or "have", I figured it's time someone started a discussion on storytelling again.

I'm wondering how the authors on the site revise their works? Do you simply proof the existing story for typos, do you substantially revise the original, or do you complete rewrite it? If any of the above, how many times do you typically re-evaluate each chapter.

Ernest Hemmingway famously stated that the final chapter in one of his most famous books (can't remember which offhand, and I can't locate the original quote) was 'rewritten 38 times before he was satisfied with it'. But then, Hemmingway was more interested in the lyrical presentation of the story, rather than in the actual actions described, so using precise language was more important to him than it is for most authors.

In my case, I'm genuinely pleased (most times) with my original phrasing, so I only do spot rewriting to correct specific problems in understanding. I generally write a complete first draft (with an occasional spot check) before doing a more extensive revision to correct for changes in the completed story. I typically do a general review before submitting it to my editors, and I used to do a final review before posting—but found I was introducing way too many uncorrected typos that way, and stopped it a couple of years ago (which is why more more recent stories are generally 'cleaner' than my earlier stories).

Banadin

I revise each paragraph as I go. Then I review the actual story to make certain the actions are what I want then I proof of before sending it through my editor ( my wife) she checks spelling continuity and if it makes sense. Finally we have the computer read it to us as we follow on paper. Don't get many complaints on writing. Of course I get emails on factual errors.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

I started my story telling career here on SOL. I was having problems, so I enlisted the aid of a volunteer editor. He helped me to understand what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately, he seemed to want me to pursue a style of story that I did not want to write, and he dropped me saying he was having family problems. That may have been true, but he never got back in contact.

For the next few stories, I did without an editor. Then Jim7 contacted me and said he would be willing to assist me. I gave him a try and so far it has worked out. He went back and edited a several stories when I was doing a sequel on them.

I have thought of redoing a few of my stories, but will probably just work on new stories. My current sequel The Ark Part 2 is about 70% complete. Its taken over a year and is over 200K words. I think I will do something similar for Opening Earth 3 when I get to it. So, I have several stories I would like to expand and limited time to complete them all.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Banadin

I revise each paragraph as I go.

Do you revise the paragraph's content, or merely proof the spelling and grammar? If so, I'd consider that to be 'on the fly' proofing. By the way, 'factual errors' fall under the control of content editors (you know who they are, because they're considerably more expensive. (Mine is still free, but he's considerably MORE expensive than my other non-paid editors!)

Replies:   Banadin
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I have thought of redoing a few of my stories, but will probably just work on new stories. My current sequel The Ark Part 2 is about 70% complete. Its taken over a year and is over 200K words. I think I will do something similar for Opening Earth 3 when I get to it. So, I have several stories I would like to expand and limited time to complete them all.

Jim's a decent guy (several of us use his services).

If your missing author was the same as mine, I suspect his health isn't resolved, as he hasn't worked for me since then either. I've also had two authors who I can only assume have died, since I haven't heard from them for years and they don't respond to emails (though the emails remain valid, which doesn't always mean a lot).

Replies:   REP
REP

@Crumbly Writer

If your missing author was the same as mine


I picked my at random from the list of volunteer editors based on his blurb. Probably not the same person, but if you want we could exchange names via email if I can find my editors name.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

I will correct continuity and other story issues if my editor catches them, but he's primarily a proof reader and isn't actively looking for story issues.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Dominions Son

All good before you post the story. Do you go back and edit, rewrite, or revise stories after they have been posted.

Dominions Son

@REP

All good before you post the story. Do you go back and edit, rewrite, or revise stories after they have been posted.


I have reposted chapters to fix continuity issues and/or errors pointed out by readers.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@Dominions Son

I do that also, but I think CW was asking about doing a complete edit or rewrite some time after the story is fully posted.

I've thought about doing that. I would definitely improve some of the stories I wrote, but would the effort be worth the improvement.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I'd need to search my email history too, as it's fairly extensive and I've had a LOT of editors over the years! If you had a specific name, I could check his last emails, though, which would be a quick lookup.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

Do you simply proof the existing story for typos, do you substantially revise the original, or do you complete rewrite it?


Yes, somewhat, and so far not.

On my one novel length work I have finished and published, the complete original has been up for just over a full year now. I took some advice from Ernest and then just ignored it for six months, while I worked on something else. I then went through it for typos and fixed any errors I found - of which there have been enough I'm rather amazed I didn't get a raft of e-mails from people pointing them out.

Then I let it sit for another six months. I'm going through it again (which does take a while) and finding and fixing those final few errors, as well as redoing some scenes that were still clunky. My goal is to have it done and re-post the 'fixed' version later this summer.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I will correct continuity and other story issues if my editor catches them, but he's primarily a proof reader and isn't actively looking for story issues.

As I said, that's the purview of content editors (I've got one, who's extremely good, if you're interested). I've had two from SOL over the years, though they weren't nearly equal in skills, but it's valuable having someone focus on content, rather than presentation.

Crumbly Writer

@Dominions Son

I have reposted chapters to fix continuity issues and/or errors pointed out by readers.

That's known as 'spot revising', rather than a complete revision where you review the entire chapter to fix inconsistencies. It's akin to spot proofing, when readers point out typos or grammar errors.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I've thought about doing that. I would definitely improve some of the stories I wrote, but would the effort be worth the improvement.

That's specifically why many of us ONLY post complete stories, so we can do the necessary revision on the completed story. It's also helpful if you're interested in publishing. But trying to revise a 200,000 word story is a fairly major endeavor.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

But trying to revise a 200,000 word story is a fairly major endeavor.


Is revising a 435,000 word story a colonel endeavor?

Switch Blayde
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I'm constantly editing/changing as I write. Hemingway always re-read from the beginning of his story, and when he got to the end he wrote where he left off. He did it for constancy, but while re-reading, he edited. That's what I do, except I start from the beginning of the chapter I didn't finish (not the beginning). People say that's wrong — that you write and edit with different parts of your brain. But I, like Hemingway, do it that way.

If I see a typo flagged while writing, I'll fix it. If a grammar error is flagged I'll analyze it and fix it if necessary. As a compulsive perfectionist, I wouldn't be able to go on if I didn't.

When I edit while re-reading the unfinished chapter, I do more than fix typos and grammar issues. I change sentence structure. I change words (mostly verbs and dialogue). I change the way paragraphs are broken up. Sometimes I never get to where I had left off and don't write anything new that day.

When I'm done, I re-read it from the beginning and make those kinds of changes. Then I do it again, and continue doing it until the changes I make are insignificant (like changing "sprinted" to "dashed" and then back to "sprinted").

So when I'm done, I've edited it hundreds (thousands?) of times.

Since I don't do a detailed outline, I do rewrite. I may have to change something earlier for something that comes up later. And that's before feedback from a beta-reader. That's when the major rewriting is done. When I finish a draft of a chapter I summarize it. That's how I know where to go to revise changes.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Dominions Son

@StarFleet Carl

Is revising a 435,000 word story a colonel endeavor?


What would it take to be a general endeavor?

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I should mention I once completely re-wrote a novel multiple times. It was my first novel and, after a rejection letter with feedback, I studied the craft of writing fiction. As I learned something, I re-wrote it. So I rewrote the entire novel to show rather than tell. I rewrote it again to correct head-hopping (that was the hardest). I even deleted the first 2 1/2 chapters to get to the conflict sooner.

When I migrated stories over to SOL from other sites, I revised them, mostly to correct head-hopping. It was so much work I stopped migrating the stories over.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Is revising a 435,000 word story a colonel endeavor?

One truly worthy of the old Victorian British Empire, since we're using British military rankings.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I'm constantly editing/changing as I write. Hemingway always re-read from the beginning of his story, and when he got to the end he wrote where he left off. He did it for constancy, but while re-reading, he edited. That's what I do, except I start from the beginning of the chapter I didn't finish (not the beginning). People say that's wrong — that you write and edit with different parts of your brain. But I, like Hemingway, do it that way.

Not from what I've read. He typically would write a draft, crumble it and toss it on the floor before rewriting the chapter entirely. He may also have gone back, like you do, and make corrections, but he was pretty notorious about doing complete rewrites until he had the 'perfect' rendering.

I suspect Ernest 'wrote' like I suggested, by continually rewriting, but once he'd written a chapter he liked, he proceeded much as you do, going back and checking for errors, fixing them as he went and then starting again with the latest chapter. Thus he was switching for long stretches of writing and editing, rather than constantly switching between the two, like you do.

Unlike you, I find the writing/editing brain holds true, as whenever I finish a major edit, and complete the book, it always takes me a long time to get back into creative writing, which is why I try to continue writing during the editing process, although it's not always possible given the number of different editors I have working on different chapters.

Also, in my case I find I can spot more errors if sufficient time has passed (i.e. I can't spot that many errors right after I finish writing, so I try not to proofread until several weeks have passed. Again, I'll do spot fixes, but I try not to reread entire chapters unless I know there's something I specifically want to change. However, I'll often revise a chapter to change how the story unfolds during the initial draft phase, though I don't do that for each chapter, or for the entire book, but just for short segments or individual chapters. I also make multiple passes during my 'proofing' phase, which is separate from my 'revision' phase. Again, for me, those are separate mindsets and it's difficult switching one off and turning the other on. I can do it, but it takes a few days time until I'm up to speed again.

Your rewrite sounds more like my proofing, as your doing spot revisions, rather than comprehensive revisions or rewrites. Typically, my rewrite phase involves me not only rephrasing paragraphs, but specially looking for things I've left out, or adding additional 'showing' of events, rewriting the previous 'telling' of what happened (i.e. I read it looking for ways to rewrite what I read).

But that's why I started this thread, as I'm intrigued by how different authors approach the same procedure, and how different people are better able to switch between different modes of thought.

I've always wanted to attempt writing like Hemingway (i.e. completely rewriting entire chapters), but I have too much trouble tossing what I mostly already like).

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I should mention I once completely re-wrote a novel multiple times. It was my first novel and, after a rejection letter with feedback, I studied the craft of writing fiction. As I learned something, I re-wrote it. So I rewrote the entire novel to show rather than tell. I rewrote it again to correct head-hopping (that was the hardest). I even deleted the first 2 1/2 chapters to get to the conflict sooner.

For my first story, unfinished at 3 books, I revised the entire thing and reposted it as 4, wrote another book and then revised the entire thing again. As a result, I've given up on complete revisions, as readers don't reward the extra effort once they've already read the story, even if they reread the story multiple times (i.e. the writing might change, but the plot details don't).

That was my 'extensive learning process', but I've learned a lot more with my more recent several books (five or six) as I varied amounts of detail, length of chapters, etc. I've received several comments about my most recent three books being much better than my previous books, but my 'million words' to become a 'true author' occurred with my original six book series (not including the multiple revisions) so apparently I required a LOT more than merely a million words practice!

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

To me the three activities have similarities but are very different in results.

Proofing = Looking for typos and grammar errors then correcting them.

Revision = No change to the story plot or actions, but changes to the word choices and word order to smooth out the read of the story. As my style has changed and smoothed out I've revised my stories to make them easier to read.

Rewrite = Making changes that alter the plot, or story line, or other significant aspects of the story.

There are times when a revision will come close to a rewrite, but if the story still tells the same story then it's not a rewrite in my view.

When I write a story I rarely write it from start to finish in one go, but work on it over time while also doing other things. If it's been a while since I worked on a story that isn't finished when I go back to it I read it from the star,t and I'll often do proofing and revision work as I go. It's very rare for me to do a rewrite. However, there are times I do that, but I usually keep a copy of what I had to start with, and later see if I can do something else with it.

After I finish a story I put it through my editors one after the other. While I process their edit recommendations I'll often revise the section they recommend a change for. While I may not always agree with their edit suggestions, I do take every one of them as an alert to review and revise that section of text because they had an issue with understanding what I meant in it, thus I try to clarify it; which means it gets revised.

One project I'm working on right now is to revise an old story of Mike's to make the story flow more easily for the reader. It's a lot more than a normal revision, but it's not a rewrite because I'm not touching any of the plot or story line. However, I am making more major changes than I'd normally do because Mike's instructions were to change the names of all but one of the characters, so they've all had global changes. Some of the peripheral scenes that didn't affect the story or plot have also been removed on Mike's instructions. This hasn't been an easy task due to the size of his epic. This sort of revision is hard because the easiest way to ensure you get all the names changed is to do a global find and replace change on the name, but it leads to proofing issues. Two examples of this type of thing are: Dawn becomes Debbie but you'll find someone waking up in the early Debbie needs to be fixed, and James becomes Peter but you'll find they later visit Petertown.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Ernest Bywater

@REP

Do you go back and edit, rewrite, or revise stories after they have been posted.


Only if my writing style has had changes, so I revise to make the story smoother to read.

Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

But trying to revise a 200,000 word story is a fairly major endeavor.


That it is, but it can be worth it.

Ernest Bywater

@StarFleet Carl

Is revising a 435,000 word story a colonel endeavor?


No, it's a General Hassle - I'm working on a story of 390,000 words for Mike right now. and did it on a 425,000 word story of his last year.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater

Revision = No change to the story plot or actions, but changes to the word choices and word order to smooth out the read of the story. As my style has changed and smoothed out I've revised my stories to make them easier to read.

Rewrite = Making changes that alter the plot, or story line, or other significant aspects of the story.

I was basing my definitions of revise and rewrite on Hemingway's writing style, where he'd rewrite each chapter he wrote, keeping the same plot points, but changing ALL the words and getting to those point via a different avenue. Thus the end result would, presumably, have the best material from each rewrite, but the essential plot wouldn't change much.

Your definition includes what I'd include as 'additional material', such as adding new chapters for a new subplot, writing entirely new scenes, or adding extra material in each chapter to make the story more detailed. However, I often do much of that (aside from the adding extra chapters) during my revision cycle. What I don't do during the revision cycle is to 'rewrite' entire chapters (just short segments of chapters which are hard to understand, which don't flow, or which need expansion).

It sounds like we need a more detailed, authoritative definition of what 'revise' and 'rewrite' include, as we seem to be interweaving the definitions.


Do you go back and edit, rewrite, or revise stories after they have been posted.

Only if my writing style has had changes, so I revise to make the story smoother to read.

That's partially what I do during my 'normal' revision cycle, I'll add more detail (but not plot points, change brief 'tell' passages into longer 'show' segments, add missing references and foreshadowing for what happens later in the story, and rewrite short segments which either don't make sense, or which just don't work for one reason or another.

According to you, I'm regularly rewriting, while I'd always though I was revising, because I keep the vast majority of my original language/story.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ernest Bywater


But trying to revise a 200,000 word story is a fairly major endeavor.

That it is, but it can be worth it.

After doing an extensive revision (my definition) of "The Catalyst", deleting the original and reposting the new version, I decided it's not advantageous changing an existing story, as it doesn't generate new fans, new sales or new fan mail. Normally, unless you completely change the basic plot line, rename it and create an entirely new book, it seems like a largely unappreciated effort (Hint: Never delete a story and then post a longer revision of the work, as readers won't appreciate the relatively minor extra 60,000 to 100,000 words.)

What I have considered doing, but haven't yet, is to 'rewrite' a book and take the plot in an entirely new direction. At the moment, I'm contemplating completely rewriting my original Catalyst story using different characters, different titles. Most of the major plot points would be the same, but the presentation and the personalities (and writing style) would be completely different.

Unfortunately, the original 1 million+ words is so intimidating, I'm nervous about committing myself to such a huge endeavor (even though part of the idea is to cut out some of the unnecessary side plots and simply the rambling, droning storytelling).

I'm sure I could now write a more comprehensive and better story, but it'll take much longer than any single book or multiple book series I could write instead. :(

Ernest Bywater

CW, over the years I've done a lot of revision work on my stories which has mostly been a case of improved word choice and word order - you can see the differences in style by comparing Ed's New Life with my Rivers Region stories. One of the old stories I started over a decade ago and haven't finished, for various reasons, recently had a major rewrite where I cut out about a quarter of it by removing the sex scenes, and it's been improved in the process. I took out the sex scenes because they all related to sub-plot I decided to drop, thus it's a rewrite of the story not a revision. I hope to finish that story this year.

Taking a basic story idea in different directions has resulted in a couple of stories of mine that appear similar.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

CW, over the years I've done a lot of revision work on my stories which has mostly been a case of improved word choice and word order - you can see the differences in style by comparing Ed's New Life with my Rivers Region stories. One of the old stories I started over a decade ago and haven't finished, for various reasons, recently had a major rewrite where I cut out about a quarter of it by removing the sex scenes, and it's been improved in the process. I took out the sex scenes because they all related to sub-plot I decided to drop, thus it's a rewrite of the story not a revision. I hope to finish that story this year.

In my personal author's dictionary, removing something that doesn't work isn't rewriting the story, it's merely cutting the chaff so you make the entire story stronger. What I consider 'changing the plot, is adding entirely new plot lines, changing the ending, or modifying the characters motives or in my case, creating an entirely new cast. In my dictionary, that's not rewriting short segments at a time, that's writing an entirely new story with a few similarities to an older story, but it's still an entirely new book. In order to differentiate in readers' minds, I'd even give it an entirely new title, a new description (to capture the new theme of the book).

I've been known, in my 'revision phase, to cut out a 3-chapter subplot because it doesn't substantially move the story forwards, only shifting it sideways for no real purpose (i.e. it's an unnecessary distraction to the basic story). Granted, I don't do that very often, but I consider it a necessary surgical procedure to make the entire story healthier in the end, similar to cutting out a cancerous growth that makes someone sick and shortens their natural life.

In the end, I consider a 'rewrite' to be changing the entire thing, either each individual chapter, or rewriting the entire book from scratch (which almost guarantees it'll end up at a completely different destination.

I also did that with my original Catalyst, the one I never used. I rewrote the entire first book, taking it from New Orleans and transplanting it to Chicago, leaving the characters intact, but rewriting the entire thing but keeping the main plot points the same (same plot, different words). I abandoned the rewrite, because once I started monkeying with it, the plot began to morph into an entirely new story, and I liked my original story. Thus, to save the great stuff I'd already written, I revised the entire story, taking what I'd learned about the characters and their troubles to enrich the existing story using the existing text, but merely 'adding to' the existing story (i.e. the plot didn't change in the revision, but I added a LOT to the actual story in terms of meaning, character development and how the entire story unfolded.

I guess that's where I get my definitions from. It's not just an idealized version of what Hemingway did, it's based on my experiences in creating a 'workable' version of my failed first attempt at writing my Opus! The second version failed too, but it taught me enough about the characters, to write a successful captivating story.

Unfortunately, now, like you, my writing style has changed so much, that I no longer feel that 'revised' version is written well enough to reflect my best efforts. So I'm once more, considering a complete rewrite, but this time with the understanding that I don't mind if it goes someplace completely unexpected.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

In my personal author's dictionary, removing something that doesn't work isn't rewriting the story, it's merely cutting the chaff so you make the entire story stronger.


In general I agree with you. However, in this case it did work, and it worked well, but it was a sub-plot I was no longer interested in going into because the story started out as a collaboration and my collaborator was going to handle a lot of the plot development for the sub-plot. With them no longer being involved I decided it was better to cut it than to work on it by myself.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

I know that I've been running roughshod over this topic, arguing with everyone who's contributed, but it's been a real eye opener for me, Just like when you do a complete rewrite and the story unfolds in completely new directions, I've ended up with a much better understanding of my own motivations and drives.

We're both right, Ernest. A rewrite does change the plot, but not because it changes the basic plot points, or the way stations the plot must reach before advancing, but because, when you write an entire chapter, the rest of the story (i.e. the plot) forever changes. It's not my definition of a rewrite, but it generates a new plot. Those way points of the plot never change (i.e. how the major conflict in the story starts, how the sub-conflicts arise, and then how the the various conflicts are resolved), but the rest of the story evolves, and as it does, it carries us, the authors, along with it.

I now see the reason why I've never been willing to duplicate Hemingway's technique, and why I admire his style so much, it's because each time he rewrites a given chapter, he develops a richer, more complete idea of the underlying characters, the situation and how everyone works together. However, each change takes the whole story in entirely new directions.

That's why I argued with Switch about Hemingway's editing process. He doesn't rewrite while he's proofing each chapter, because once he's happy with the result, rewriting ANY chapter in the story will utterly change any chapter that follows. You don't do that once you're completely satisfied with how the story unfolds.

That's also the magic in that process, and why I admire Hemingway so much. True, his writing is beautiful, but he's incredibly brave to risk his story with each revision. And part of why his story's are so well written is because, with each new version, he understands the dynamics that much better. Thus, each rewrite makes the entire story stronger. It's NOT a technique you try if you're satisfied with your first pass at any given chapter, but like my failed attempt at rewriting my first story, even revising the original produces a much richer and more complete book. My first series would never have been as good as it was if I hadn't given up on my first version of it. I wasn't willing to follow where the passage led, but it make the original story much strong while keeping the original wording intact. I simply added the extra knowledge to flesh out the entire story, while keeping the plot essentially the same.

Damn, for such a short but intense discussion, with so few participants (but less infighting over minor points), I've learned much more than I have in most 200 post arguments.

I'm still not sure I'm prepared to follow Hemingway's lead, but I now have a much better understanding of what's involved. And, if I'm not comfortable with how a story is turning out, I know a very quick solution. Simply rewrite the first chapter (or which ever chapter doesn't work, and try to stick to the same plot, and just watch as it turns into an entirely different, more complete story!

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

I know that I've been running roughshod over this topic, arguing with everyone who's contributed


And that's different from any other topics how? :)

(Seriously, just kidding with you on that.)

I can see what both you and Ernest are talking about here. Where I'm having fun is that my first work is one where I made the decision to get a several chapter buffer and then start posting it. So while it took me just over a year to write and post it, there were and are a lot of errors and mistakes I made in the content.

Since I'm not changing the plot of the story, I'm consider it a revision. I am fixing all the spelling and grammatical errors, and in some cases I'm rewriting scenes to either tighten things up or to change them slightly, but I'm not changing the whole plot of the story. Chapter 25 is done, only 50 more to go. (I wasn't kidding when I said 435,000 words a while ago.)

So now this does bring up a question from me for all you. Reposting it when it's done again. You mention not deleting the original. What do you normally do when you have corrections like this?

robberhands

@StarFleet Carl

What do you normally do when you have corrections like this?

I repost the corrected chapter(s). 'Post & Repost' is an option on the Author/Editor menu.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

This is from SUNY EMPIRE State College: https://www.esc.edu/online-writing-center/resources/academic-writing/process/rewriting-revising/

The title is "Rewriting or Revising" but they only talk about revision. But it's worth a read.

I guess if you believe your story needs to be changed, you revise it. But if you need to start over, because it's written so terribly or it is wrong, you rewrite it.

The writing process is never done--it is only finished when you need to hand something in or voluntarily discontinue working. If you were to pick up a piece of writing that you completed two years ago, you undoubtedly would see ways that you could improve it. Two years later, you could do the same thing. Because perspectives on life and the world are always changing (even if we don't notice it), we will always look at our writing differently. We also learn more in the meantime, either about our writing or the topic that we are writing about, or just about ourselves. Nobody's writing is perfect. Nobody gets a piece "right" on the very first try, which is why writers go back many times and rework their writing so that it makes more sense, is clearer, and is more presentable to the reader.

It is easier here to start with what revision is not. Revision is not proofreading for typographical errors or misplaced words, and revision is not using your spell check.

Revision is the process of looking back on your writing (or someone else's writing) and making changes to it to make it better.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

But trying to revise a 200,000 word story is a fairly major endeavor.


For me it is a new story and I only post finished stories. I keep going back to the earlier chapter to check for continuity of the 6-8 major subplots and several smaller subplots, grammatical errors, and shifting content to balance chapter length.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


readers don't reward the extra effort once they've already read the story


I read a story several years ago that I liked. The author revised it and I didn't care for his revision as much as the original. One of the problems with his revision was it contained references to scenes that he deleted.

ETA: To your reader, a revision/rewrite may not be an improvement.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

@StarFleet Carl

a colonel endeavor

Majors are O4 pay grade. For twice the word count, you would need an O8, a major general. Or perhaps a rear admiral of the upper half. I wonder where the dividing point between rear admirals of the upper and lower half would be. Perhaps at the anus, so each would have some rear. It is possible that for 435,000 words, a mere rear admiral wouldn't be enough, and you would need a vice admiral. Depending on how much vice is in the story.

Banadin

@Crumbly Writer

Then I do on the fly proofing. As far as hiring someone for content, not worth it. Besides my readers tell me that it was Rockwell Standard in 1958 not Rockwell International, or that The Air Police carried 38's not 45's or that I was off by a month of the introduction of 707 service from Dallas to Philadelphia. These were all errors that I had researched before making!

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Banadin

@REP

I have taken to collecting the emails on each chapter, then a week after first posting revise as needed. I also try to thank each of the responders.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

So now this does bring up a question from me for all you. Reposting it when it's done again. You mention not deleting the original. What do you normally do when you have corrections like this?

As robberhands suggest, you simply repost all the chapters at once, but I'd add a blog post, informing readers that there's a new version, just in case they want to check it out, or can't figure out where their favorite scene went. 'D

In fact, it wouldn't hurt to post them in installments, say 10 chapters at a time. That way, more people will be aware you are updating the story, they'll know when to read the next batch, and if they're obsessive, they can save and compare the different versions to see if it actually changed the story at all.

By the way, congratulations on undertaking the self-correcting process. It's a lot of work, but it makes the story better in the long haul. But don't be afraid to cut any unnecessary subplot which don't actually advance the main plot in some way. Although Ernest and I disagreed about how to consider those, we both agree it's better for the book to chop them out (when necessary) during the revision process.

lichtyd

@Crumbly Writer

I usually revise, sometimes rewrite each scene three or more times until it has the right feel. In my story, TFD, I revised one scene half a dozen times looking for the perfect combination of words.

When I'm out of ideas for the next scene, I edit for technical corrections.

Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I guess if you believe your story needs to be changed, you revise it. But if you need to start over, because it's written so terribly or it is wrong, you rewrite it.

Once again, I started the discussion talking about rewriting whole chapters, not the entire book. When you do that, the new chapter doesn't very that much from the original. But as you add new details and slight variations, each chapter you rewrite/revise after that gradually drifts farther and farther from the original. Generally, that's a good thing, but for a potential 435K word book, or my own 1,100,000 word series, it's intimidating to even consider. Luckily, while the per chapter size is likely increase, you can also trim enough subplots to eliminate quite a few chapters to counter the growth.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

For me it is a new story and I only post finished stories. I keep going back to the earlier chapter to check for continuity of the 6-8 major subplots and several smaller subplots, grammatical errors, and shifting content to balance chapter length.

If so, then don't be afraid to make it a whole new story, switching characters, giving them added depth, changing the tile and repackaging the entire thing. That way, you'll get more 'bang' for the extensive effort required to revise the entire thing. You hate putting in that much effort, only to have people ask 'what's the difference?'.

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I read a story several years ago that I liked. The author revised it and I didn't care for his revision as much as the original. One of the problems with his revision was it contained references to scenes that he deleted.

That was obviously not a thorough revision, as part and parcel of the revision process is, after you delete subplots and add in new scenes, you've got to revise it again to correct continuity issues (i.e. things addressed which aren't a part of the story).

In one of my revision, of my original Great Death book, readers dislike when I removed the initial sex scene as they're stuck for hours lying on an open field during a meteor storm, with the man's daughter a short distance away—even though I'd received fairly universal condemnation from female readers across the board for the one scene. Seems guys liked the scene, while women despised it. But then, they also hated the whole 'survivor harem' motif, so it was effectively a wasted effort, as no one was pleased by the change.

Crumbly Writer

@Banadin

Then I do on the fly proofing. As far as hiring someone for content, not worth it.

Trust me, there are very good content editors on SOL, who'll do the work just to be a part of the creation effort (hint: most are also authors themselves, so they understand storytelling issues like pacing, tension, foreshadowing, etc.).

Part of what drives up cost is that type of effort typically takes multiple passes, where they look for and catch completely different things in each patch, plus catching additional typos with each pass.

Also, don't discount reader corrections, as I've had readers send corrections for issues I didn't know enough to realize I needed to research certain things I didn't know. As a result of those additional details, I often end up creating an entirely new subplot of several chapters in the sequel.

Crumbly Writer

@Banadin

I have taken to collecting the emails on each chapter, then a week after first posting revise as needed. I also try to thank each of the responders.

I also like to tell them how I resolved the issue, including highlighting the actual changes. Not only does that make readers feel like they're actively contributing, but it gives them a chance to correct me if I screw something up, or inadvertently get something else wrong.

Authors can't be expected to be self-taught experts in every field, but luckily, we all have a variety of experts among our various readers, which helps us improve our expertise in those neglected areas.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

If so, then don't be afraid to make it a whole new story


I think you misunderstood. I haven't gone back and revised/rewrote any of my stories and I don't intend to. As I said, the 200K word story is a brand new story - not one I previously wrote.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@REP

I think you misunderstood. I haven't gone back and revised/rewrote any of my stories and I don't intend to. As I said, the 200K word story is a brand new story - not one I previously wrote.

Okay, as you noted, I misunderstood. I typically stop revising stories whenever I reach a point where a simple correction ends with me revising three to seven paragraphs at a time. At that point, it's just not worth fixing, since the time invested on entirely new stories is much more productive.

Everyone seems to have a different 'quitting a story' point.

Crumbly Writer

Revisiting this thread (which I started, by the way), I have some new observations. While before, I went out of my way to extensively plan out stories, including throwing in complications, just so I'd spend longer determining how to proceed and how to make something 'come out right', lately, I've been going in the other direction. I'm now often 'just writing' and let the story itself lead me. In my latest book, while I HAVE no way-points to guide me, only the ultimate resolution of the story's main conflict, the story continues to surprise me, and lead in completely unexpected directions.

In particular, and in keeping with the topic, I hit a chapter where, after building up to it, a particular scene just fell flat. Not wanting to abandon it, I did what I rarely do, and completely rewrote it, essentially shaking it up. And as I've always feared, the rewrite took me places I never anticipated. Instead of a big conflict, which was based on a mere misunderstanding, ending with everyone saying 'Oh well, no harm no fowl', the main character instead explores, threatening the lives of those depending on him, and threatening to abandon people depending on him.

Clearly, this character had a few deep-seated emotional problems I wasn't aware of, until then. But giving him (the character) free rein, allowed me to develop the story in ways which took it entirely new places, but also allowed me to examine previously unexamined aspects of the character I'd never considered before.

Let's face it, the character's know their own lives better than the author does, so when they refuse to do as you dictate, it's often a sign that you're forcing them to act against their own inclinations, a frequent cause of writer's block.

However, such a free-wheeling technique has it's downsides, as I'm now unsure just how 'reasonable' my story is. However, I've been talking through my of the plot points with someone, so I'm now more convinced than before that the story is stronger for those unconventional approaches, though it won't hurt to use a few beta-readers, just to be sure everyone agrees. :(

REP

@Crumbly Writer

Since characters originate in the author's mind, I always consider them to be an extension of the authors and their fantasies.

If a character has emotional problems, the problems could be by design or they could be personal problems the author is suppressing. Not intended as a personal attack, CW, just an observation.

robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Curiously, when I write a story the characters behave like I want them to behave and they do exactly what I want them to do. I like to believe they accept my authority as the author, which makes it much easier to write my stories.

richardshagrin

@robberhands

characters behave like I want them to behave and they do exactly what I want them to do.

Write a lot of BDSM? With submissive characters?

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@richardshagrin

No, I only write dismal stories where no one has any sort of fun.

StarFleet Carl

@Crumbly Writer

Let's face it, the character's know their own lives better than the author does, so when they refuse to do as you dictate, it's often a sign that you're forcing them to act against their own inclinations, a frequent cause of writer's block.


I actually agree with you on this one. REP is partially correct in his thoughts:

Since characters originate in the author's mind, I always consider them to be an extension of the authors and their fantasies.


The character originates in the authors conscious mind. A lot of the character traits are not actual decisions or thoughts made by the author, they're subconscious at best.

Replies:   REP  Crumbly Writer
REP

@StarFleet Carl

they're subconscious at best.


I think that is where fantasies also begin. They rise to the conscious mind with their character traits already part of the character. The mind can be a deep dark place.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Uther_Pendragon

@Crumbly Writer

I've done it any number of ways.
The worst was my _Heart Ball_. I wrote it and posted it as I wrote on ASSM.
Then, when I was done, I went back and rewrote it all.

When stuff is on a word processor, I tend to go back while I'm writing.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Curiously, when I write a story the characters behave like I want them to behave and they do exactly what I want them to do. I like to believe they accept my authority as the author, which makes it much easier to write my stories.

Oddly, I've found the complete opposite. I've discovered, in most cases of writer's block, it's because the characters themselves don't like what they're being forced to do, realizing the actions are contrary to their character traits, and they simply 'refuse to play along'. Whenever anyone complains of being stuck in any given story, I've always advised the author to step back and consider why the characters are balking, as that's the quickest way to identify the problem and resolve it.

Of course, it's the author who's directing the action, but often, we continue to push our original plot points, regardless of how the characters have evolved over the course of the book. At a certain point, we realize their a discrepancy, and we therefore encounter problems when we try to force the character's in contradictory positions.

In my writing, I'm often led by the characters. I basically define the characters first, put them into particular settings with an establish conflict, and then let them drive the story. When you do that, you basically have to type as quickly as you can, before the characters move on without you.

Replies:   robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

The character originates in the authors conscious mind. A lot of the character traits are not actual decisions or thoughts made by the author, they're subconscious at best.

That's partially true, though of course, many times specific characters are based on people we've known, so we expect them to react like those people would, rather than how we ourselves would. However, that reasoning is somewhat circular, because we're actually projecting our own views of those character's traits, so we choose 'bad outcomes' for those who we disagree with and 'good outcomes' for the people who behave as we expect. However, writer's block is often how the subconscious pulls us writer's back, telling us we're losing touch with our own creations. In cases like that, it's wise to stop and question what's triggering the reaction, rather than fighting it and trying to force the characters to stick with our predefined plot outlines. Once you figure out the internal conflict, you can usually adapt the plot (or more specifically the particular scenes) and continue on.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

I think that is where fantasies also begin. They rise to the conscious mind with their character traits already part of the character. The mind can be a deep dark place.

Two quick quotes, both by Anaïs Nin:

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

and

"The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say."

Okay, sorry, I cheated, as there's yet another quote that fits the situation:

"If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it."

In short, writing doesn't stand out simply because we can force characters into situations, it stands out because we can show how people really feel and truly react, and do so in a way which resonates with readers, often catching them by surprise by something they, on reflection, find to be quite normal.

Part of that are our own internal expectations, but much more is opening ourselves to the experiences of others, and trying to capture their emotions by developing them farther than life normally allows.

Replies:   REP
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Do you believe because you describe your invented characters as if they'd have a life outside of your imagination that your conclusions become somehow more compelling? It also doesn't matter whether you voice your opinions as 'I' or 'we', because I know it's only you.

I can accept some amount of artsy gibberish but you're straining my tolerance.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@robberhands

I can accept some amount of artsy gibberish but you're straining my tolerance.

When I read these sorts of comments by CW I mentally substitute statements about characters having some separate existence with a thought along the lines of it's a useful tool to observe ourselves while imagining characters as if they had some separate existence.

For me, that's enough to turn the artsy gibberish into something worth taking note of.

Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Do you believe because you describe your invented characters as if they'd have a life outside of your imagination that your conclusions become somehow more compelling? It also doesn't matter whether you voice your opinions as 'I' or 'we', because I know it's only you.

I can accept some amount of artsy gibberish but you're straining my tolerance.

I was discussing a common problem among authors, and my own way of addressing it, rather than 'artsy gibberish'. That's simply my way of expressing the idea, as it seems to ring 'truer' for most authors than "I have my own hangups". Making it personal (to me) makes the recommended solution irrelevant to others.

Also, saying that ALL characters are a reflection of the author's thinking is disingenuous, as it clearly implies that NO author is capable to reflecting on anyone, other than themselves, which is clearly not the case (some just do it better than others).

I then went on to admit that the problems ARE subconscious, but went on to explain that 'thinking of them as character extensions' provide us with a better handle on it, than does dismissing the notion entirely.

I think your response emphasizes the last point. Rather than deal with the basic concepts, your first response tends to be to attack anyone who says something you didn't first think of yourself. Thus anytime anyone tries to discuss a technique you don't use is obviously 'making shit up' and the techniques are, by definition, pure fantasy.

Ross got what I was going for, but you have trouble making it past the first line of ANYONE's response on the forum. Since we're discussing projecting our own internal shortcomings ...

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

Let me guess; I'm trying to shut down the discussion, am I?

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

I haven't personally experienced what CW's talking about, but I've heard other authors complaining about similar problems. Some of them go to what I consider to be extreme lengths to avoid them, giving each character a detailed bio and mapping each scene in detail so that the whole story is effectively straitjacketed before the author begins writing in earnest.

AJ

Replies:   robberhands  Ross at Play  REP
robberhands

@awnlee jawking

There is a multitude of ways to write yourself into a corner. The incongruity between story plot and the motivation of the acting characters is just one of them. If it helps you to think of your imagined characters as separate beings, more power to you. Personally, I prefer to keep such discussions on the floor and dislike to be dragged into artistic delusions.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@awnlee jawking

giving each character a detailed bio and mapping each scene in detail so that the whole story is effectively straitjacketed before the author begins writing in earnest.

I can see that working for some authors. Authors of plot-driven stories may gravitate towards that approach while authors of character-driven stories might tend to adopt an approach closer to what CW has described.

Personally, I'd suggest all authors push themselves at least part-way towards approaches contrary to their natural inclinations.

REP

@Crumbly Writer

... we can show how people really feel and truly react ...


I wasn't talking about forcing a character into a situation. I was addressing where a character comes from.

I also wasn't addressing characters standing out. Whether they do or not is determined by how the author develops and handles the character.

None of us really knows what other people feel and how they will react. We often make good guesses that seem to match what we experience of their actions and spoken words. The way a person feels and what they think is not always reflected by their words and actions. We don't always know why a person speaks or acts in an observed manner, and if they tell us why, they may not be sharing the real reason behind their words and actions.

REP

@awnlee jawking

giving each character a detailed bio


Is the origin of a character somehow different because an author wrote a detailed biography of the character? To me that is only documenting what the author's imagination created, so they don't forget it.

Your characters come from your imagination. Your imagination uses people you know to create those characters and your imagination gives them traits similar to those of people you know who are similar to what your imagination wants those characters to be.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@REP

We don't always know why a person speaks or acts in an observed manner, and if they tell us why, they may not be sharing the real reason behind their words and actions.

... AND ... very often they can't "share the real reasons" because they can't see, or refuse to see, those reasons themselves.

ETA - Does that make a case in favour of 'show, don't tell'? If nobody really knows what anybody else is thinking, wouldn't showing (so readers observe characters' actions) mean different readers could interpret the actions of characters differently, but the characters could still seem authentic to each reader.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

Let me guess; I'm trying to shut down the discussion, am I?

No. You've got strong points, as I continue making points that I can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, but that doesn't mean that they're not worth considering in an open forum about writing.

I just think your bar concerning what's valid to discuss about writing is too strict to help, as you start out with a set attitude about what you'll consider and what you'll reject, virtually out of hand, based merely on how it's phrased in the opening paragraph.

@awnlee & @robberhands

I haven't personally experienced what CW's talking about, but I've heard other authors complaining about similar problems. Some of them go to what I consider to be extreme lengths to avoid them, giving each character a detailed bio and mapping each scene in detail so that the whole story is effectively straitjacketed before the author begins writing in earnest.

My main point, and yes, I do have one, is that the 'personification' of my characters is a handy way for me to conceptualize an attempt to allow my stories to evolve naturally (i.e. I'd rather avoid setting up a straitjacket approach to writing, and thinking of my characters of 'living entities' allows me to trust the story to unfold on it's own, rather than my dictating how it unfolds at each step. Thus I'm often surprised by how the story unfolds, and learn a lot in the process (i.e. my characters effectively continue to 'teach' me better writing techniques).

Crumbly Writer

@REP

None of us really knows what other people feel and how they will react. We often make good guesses that seem to match what we experience of their actions and spoken words. The way a person feels and what they think is not always reflected by their words and actions. We don't always know why a person speaks or acts in an observed manner, and if they tell us why, they may not be sharing the real reason behind their words and actions.

I accept and acknowledge that, but that's a long ways from 'every character is only a reflection of the author's own viewpoints'. One of the goals of writing is to not only see things in an entirely new way, but figuring out ways to reach readers, and getting them to engage with the story. And we do that by placing ourselves into the lives of others and seeing where that leads. True, we may not completely succeed at it, but if we don't at least try, we're doomed to only writing about what we currently know, rather than trying new things. As Ross suggests, trying new techniques stretches our horizons as authors, and either confirms what others have tried, or proves that they're simply full of crap (though, again, there's room for more than simply those two extremes).

Replies:   REP
Crumbly Writer

@REP

Is the origin of a character somehow different because an author wrote a detailed biography of the character? To me that is only documenting what the author's imagination created, so they don't forget it.

Despite my insistence on knowing a character's motivations and how they'll respond to any given situations, I rarely write out a detailed biography. Instead, just as I do with plot outlines, I keep the entire thing in my head, often for months at a time as I prepare to write the story.

Doing that (not writing things out) allows the ideas to adapt and evolve over time, rather than becoming static and overly formal.

My treating characters as 'living creatures' is merely a mental shorthand for me to 'trust a story', that sometimes, my subconscious knows better what will work out than my presuppositions do. While we all write from our own perspectives, I like to believe that my particular approach leaves me better able to change my story on the fly as I write. Since I don't expect my characters to act a certain way, I'm more apt to change the story as the individual chapters change and morph over time.

Again, it's more technique than 'artsy delusions'. And again, you've got a nasty tendency to automatically reject anything you aren't already doing, rather than considering alternative suggestions. That's what I keep complaining about, you keep trying to shut down conversations, rather than merely letting conversations you aren't personally interested in unfold on their own.

Replies:   REP  robberhands
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Does that make a case in favour of 'show, don't tell'? If nobody really knows what anybody else is thinking, wouldn't showing (so readers observe characters' actions) mean different readers could interpret the actions of characters differently, but the characters could still seem authentic to each reader.

I prefer creating flawed characters, so the reader is never quite sure what the character will do, or whether what he's thinking at the moment will determine how he'll act in the future.

In my scenario, rather than leaving the character undefined, I'll plant (foreshadow) doubts in the character's mind, so the reader is never entirely sure how the characters will behave. Half of foreshadowing is planting red herrings, instead of merely giving away plot spoilers. Keeping readers guessing is the key to surprising them with a story.

However, that's something else that takes planning. If you want readers to doubt a character's thoughts, you need to show how they are conflicted, and how they're likely to go in either direction.

awnlee jawking

@REP

To me that is only documenting what the author's imagination created, so they don't forget it.


I believe that's the point, to ensure a character stays true to the author's original conception. So no name changing or forgetting the character's age, penis and/or breast size, motivations, friends, enemies etc.

AJ

REP

@Crumbly Writer

a long ways from 'every character is only a reflection of the author's own viewpoints'.


Sounds like you are saying someone else creates a story's characters other than the author.

The author is having the character express viewpoints and those viewpoints come from the author, not the character.

Other than the first sentence, your comments are basically about how the author gathers viewpoints.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP

@Crumbly Writer

And again, you've got a nasty tendency to automatically reject anything you aren't already doing,


Since you don't know what I am doing, you are speaking out of turn.

I am not out to shutdown the conversation. What I want to shutdown is your longwinded comments about:

1. You going on about the 'proper' way to write.

2. Your constant comments about 'In my story XYZ, I ......"

3. Holding up your stories as if they are outstanding examples of writing.

In other words, stop making all of your posts about you.

Ross at Play

@REP

In other words, stop making all of your posts about you.

Wow, what a great comeback line! LOL.

Crumbly Writer

@REP

Other than the first sentence, your comments are basically about how the author gathers viewpoints.

I'm saying that you point, about every character being based on the author's personality, is overly simplistic and misleading. True, the authors writes them all, but not all stories are, by definition, about the author, which is a mistake that readers often make (and why many authors write to author's of pedo stories or incest stories and ask whether they can 'trade' sisters or daughters).

I understand what you're saying, about the author decided what words to put into a character's mouth, but the tendency to attribute character actions is fairly pervasive, so I'd rather not encourage that assumption among the gullible and simple-minded.

Replies:   Ernest Bywater
Crumbly Writer

@REP

In other words, stop making all of your posts about you.

So, your point isn't that you dislike honest communications, you just dislike me personally? Then how about everyone else you pick fights with, like Ross? Do you personally despise him too, or do you simply despise anyone who doesn't agree with you?

The observations I make about you aren't personally, they're based on your actions. We've had some decent communications, but whenever ANYONE says ANYTHING you don't inherently agree with, you take over the entire thread, insisting that they have NO RIGHT to say ANYTHING on the subject because YOU don't like their opinion!

Replies:   REP
Ernest Bywater

@Crumbly Writer

which is a mistake that readers often make (and why many authors write to author's of pedo stories or incest stories and ask whether they can 'trade' sisters or daughters).


CW, I think you have a typo in this quoted area, I suspect you have an author where you mean reader.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
REP
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Bullshit, CW.

whenever ANYONE says ANYTHING you don't inherently agree with, you take over the entire thread, insisting that they have NO RIGHT to say ANYTHING on the subject because YOU don't like their opinion!


I converse with many people and we go back and forth disputing each others position. I disagree with many of the opinions expressed in this Forum, but don't comment on the opinions. When I do comment, it is usually between me and the other person. Others continue to post.

Go back through my posts during the past 4 years and show me one place where I told a poster that they did not have the right to speak in the Forum. You won't find anyone other than Ross, and I spoke out about him because he was bad mouthing my wife in a public Forum.

What your ire is really about, CW, is you can't stand someone taking the limelight off of you. You want to be the center of attention, but many of us just ignore you.

I and other people are enjoying a conversation about a topic and YOU pick an aspect of the conversation to respond to. You spend about 1 maybe 2 sentences on that aspect and then go off on a tangent about something totally different that YOU want to talk about. You want to dominate and control the conversation in a thread and when someone like DS or I disagree with you or speak out about what you say, you go off on another of your rants about us shutting down the thread's conversation.

I usually just ignore your posts as not worthy of being read for they are just egotistical opinions with little if any supporting facts, other than the ones you cite without a link and then say you're not here to tell us where to look, we need to go find it ourselves. That makes me wonder if you made those facts up.

The only reason I responded to you in this thread was Awnlee and I were chatting and YOU attacked me because YOU didn't like something I said to Awnlee. I notice that he stopped posting in this thread because YOU shutdown the communications he and I started. If anyone on this site is shutting down conversation it is YOU.

robberhands
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

The 'artsy delusions' were my comment to your suggestions, not REP's. It's rather disingenuous and condescending to mix and mash the objections different people made against your contributions in this thread.

I freely admit, my comments were heavily influenced by the severe heartburn your corny phrasings induced in me. However, I also disagree with some of your 'key' statements.

I agree, when you wrote yourself into a corner, the easiests way to get out of it is to go back. But you don't go back and change the story until your characters approve of it. You go back and fire the damn clown who balks at the role he is supposed to play. Then you hire a new one who will play the role he must play to progress your story.

You can't lean back and watch the characters telling your story. That's your job and the characters you invented are a part of it. The reason when you find yourself in a corner and suffering from writersblock might just be the result of your spectator attitude.

Safe_Bet

As a reader/reviewer here is what I'd like to see:

1. Writers to STOP trusting freaking "spell check" for proofing. Reading people enjoying a glass of "champaign" makes me crazy!

2. Writers to ALWAYS us an editor/beta reader to point out incorrect grammar & wording and non-congruent story flow. This, of course... at least to be effective, means that the story needs to be complete before going to them.

3. Once posted, have another writer "peer review" your story and point out things that they think don't work (or do it here in the forum). Another set of "writer eyes" might just be the thing to make for "revisions" vs. entire rewrites.

Lastly, I really wish people wouldn't get so wrapped up over things like the horrifying use of "have" when they should have used "of". Grammar and proper word usage is important, but very few readers are as wrapped up over proper spelling and grammar and the ones that go full "Grammar Nazi" are generally assholes in the first place so they will find something to dislike about a story even if you spent months proofing, revising and rewriting it.

richardshagrin

@Safe_Bet

"champaign"

sham pain to our real friends and real pain to our sham friends.

PotomacBob

@Safe_Bet

Here's my opinion on the issues raised, and my free opinion is worth exactly what you pay for it:
If the story is readable, even with many mistakes in misspellings, grammar, etc., if the author tells a good story and I care about what happens to the characters, I will enjoy the story. I guess I have a higher tolerance for mistakes in stories I get to read for free. More irritating, to me, are factual errors.

Replies:   Capt. Zapp
Capt. Zapp

@PotomacBob

If the story is readable, even with many mistakes in misspellings, grammar, etc., if the author tells a good story and I care about what happens to the characters, I will enjoy the story. I guess I have a higher tolerance for mistakes in stories I get to read for free.


I tend to agree with this. I will usually note the errors and send a note to the author. It is up to them whether they make the corrections or not.

I have my own solution to any errors that really bother me though. Since I save a copy of the story, I make the corrections in MY PERSONAL copy, much as I might make corrections in a deadtree book.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

CW, I think you have a typo in this quoted area, I suspect you have an author where you mean reader.

Yep, you're right. I meant readers.

Safe_Bet

sham pain to our real friends and real pain to our sham friends.


LOL. Yeah, sham friends like Carl...

"and Carl ordered Champaign"


http://storiesonline.net/s/37457:14790/chapter-4-the-ceo

awnlee jawking

@Capt. Zapp

I tend to agree with this. I will usually note the errors and send a note to the author. It is up to them whether they make the corrections or not.


When there were only a few errors, I used to point out the ones that ruined the understanding of the story, such as name changes and continuity errors. But I found that too many of the authors were issuing the stories as e-books and pulling them from SOL.

If an author leaves the story on SOL then I don't mind so much, but I feel cheated when my free expertise contributes to an author making money.

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

If an author leaves the story on SOL then I don't mind so much, but I feel cheated when my free expertise contributes to an author making money.

I can understand you feeling cheated, but a contract is a contract. Authors agree when posting to the period during which they cannot remove their stories from the site.

And, I wouldn't begrudge the money those authors make. It's surely just a pittance - based on total sales reported here by prolific and talented authors such as CW and EB.

Replies:   madnige  awnlee jawking
madnige
Updated:

@Ross at Play


prolific and talented authors such as CW and EB.


Which one's prolific and which one's talented? ;)

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@madnige

Which one's prolific and which one's talented? ;)

Oh, you're wicked! Sorry, but I've no intention of enrolling in the Kamikaze Pilot School today.

awnlee jawking

@Ross at Play

Authors agree when posting to the period during which they cannot remove their stories from the site.


I'm pretty sure more than one story, for which I've pointed out mistakes to the author, has been pulled within a week of completion.

AJ

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