Hello SErs. Harmony here. My current WIP is the first time I’ve written first draft without doing any editing. None at all. At first, I found it tough. But by now, having reached near the end, I’ve seen how useful it can be … even a life saver.
Early on, a character called Jenny popped up unexpectedly. I hadn’t plotted or planned for her, but there she was all the same. And then, a short while later, I killed her off. By the time I got to the middle of the novel and read back over what had gone before, I realised that this minor character had come on stage only to leave abruptly. With no role. No purpose that I could see.
In my previous modus operandi, I would have written her out of existence, killing her off for real. She wouldn’t have been in the finished book. But what I have learned from this experience of not editing as I write is how much more freedom that gives my muse.
Usually, it’s a constant tug of war between my inner editor and my creative muse. Sadly, my inner editor has a strong voice, one that is difficult to ignore. This means my muse often gets buried. Not allowing my editor a say until the revision stage begins has allowed my muse much more free reign. And, it turns out, she knows what she’s doing.
Poor old Jenny gives me a great way to introduce a plot device later on, which also adds yet another twist to the tale. And I get to look really clever to my readers for putting in such a fantastic plant early on, lol. That’s the great thing about revision: writers get to be omniscient.
Basically, I use Jenny to show a back-door access to the population’s implants that only one man knows about. And he uses it to no good end. Because I’m mean like that. I like to make my characters suffer.
So, while I do kill Jenny, I didn’t kill her out of the book. Instead, I found a great way to use her. Had I gotten rid of her, I might not have come up with that fab idea about the back-access. Even writing about it here, it has me grinning from ear-to-ear.
I have yet another first with this book: It’s the first time I have no clue what its finished title will be … its working title is Exxon 1. This is a post apocalyptic novel. Usually, by this late stage, I know exactly what I want to call it. Maybe once I have the permanent ending written instead of the place-holder idea I’ve mapped out for now. Perhaps its working title will stay … who knows?
What about you? Do you edit as you go? Or do you leave that for revision? What works for you? What doesn’t? Let me know in the comments below.
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