Tuesday, February 26, 2013

when it's good to look back

I sat down to start on chapter 14 of my current novel-in-progress, but as I was changing the font to Times New Roman, I thought I haven't looked over some of this earlier stuff in a while.

So then I sat down and read chapters 1-12.

A lot of folks don't believe in going back during the rough drafting stage. I'm not one. If I leave off in the middle of a chapter, I always read over the chapter before starting the new stuff, mostly so I can get back in the rhythm of things.

I'm glad I read through tonight, because it's already been 2 months for the writing of these 13 chapters. Funny how easy you the author can forget stuff that you wrote.

For me, it was a good reminder of the current actual reading pace of the book, and not the writing pace. Now that I'm sitting at 36k words and eyeing the middle ground, it's imperative to know where I'm heading next in the journey towards the climax. This book, more than any other I've written, is go! from chapter 3 onward, so it was good to read through all that again and remind myself where my MC is at in her arc, where I can start pulling up some sub-plots, and where I can slow a little to let some development happen.

I usually have a very good idea of how long my book is going to be, almost within a thousand words. This one I'm not so sure about, but I'm pretty certain it's going to be shorter--probably in the 70's and maybe early 80's. Hence, even more important to refresh on the old stuff, since technically I could be getting close to the novel's middle already.

It would be nice to have a little recap available for myself, like they do on TV shows--someone to give me a highlight reel of what I'm going to concentrate on for the next chapter, along with some great music to pump me up. Someone should work on that...


Old Kitty said...

Good luck with this, Summer! Sounds like you're really enjoying it! Hope you get some great music asap for your next chapters! Take care

Unpublished Life said...

I find it really difficult to go back and re-read my earlier stuff. I always want to change things and start second guessing, which may be good. But, it does prevent me from moving forward.

Best of luck with writing and keep it up!


Jessica Ann Hill said...

I don't typically go back and read what I've already written, just because then I start editing instead of writing on even though I know everything's going to have to be edited and tweaked and moved around later anyways. The only time I really go back and read is if I've been away for a while, or if it's taking a while to draft, like in you're case. You're right--it's amazing how quickly I can forget what I wrote, haha!

Good luck with your WIP, Summer!! :)

DL Hammons said...

I'm like you, from time to time I will read back through what I've already written. And for the exact same reasons. No editing allowed, just a way to re-sync the timeline. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

I also almost always go back and read what i last wrote. Like you, it just helps me get back into the groove of things

Stephanie said...

I'm not great about re-reading because then I have to force myself not to waste time editing. And, sometimes I also start to hate when I've written and it kills enthusiasm for the story as a whole. That usually places me in the middle of a rather muddled first draft, but I soldier on.

Good luck on drafting, and have fun.

Mark said...

I totally agree, you have to go with your gut and read/revise when and where you need it at any stage. Great post, cool blog:)

Lola Sharp said...

Hey girl heeeeyy,

I'm so glad you are still writing. (honestly, I'd be surprised if you weren't, though)

I don't generally reread the entire draft mid-drafting (unless it's been a while since I've touched the draft), but I DO, always reread yesterday's/the previous writing session, or maybe even the last couple sessions. (with the exception of I constantly fiddle with the first scene/chapter. Like, the entire time I'm drafting a book, I change the beginning a million times.) I HAVE to reread the previous session so I can get back into the groove. (and, yes, I do make minor edits on that previous session) But I don't generally reread the entire thing because I'd start festering and revising and rewriting and wasting time doing silly little copy edits and such. I'd never finish a first draft.

But, I know your first drafts are plotted and much cleaner than my messy first drafts, so I'm sure that's far less a problem for you.

I hope you and the kitties and the puppy and E and nursing school are all doing marvelously well. :)


Lola Sharp said...

OH, and YES YES YES to the awesome idea of a highlight reel! "Here's what's happened so far..." "and here's a teaser clip of what's to come" set to perfect music!