Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Actually enjoying the editing stage

The main task I'm working on right now is editing my story "Elf and Troll."
I've been surprised by how much I'm enjoying editing this story.
I'm astounded by how I can improve a sucky scene on 2nd reading. It really makes me want to push to get text down fast, and then go back over it later. I mean, the idea that you should write a bad first draft and then revise it is completely trite, but it's really another thing to experience it.

When it's really bad to start with, it's easy to make it better, and doing that feels really good.

There's a simple pattern here: I find that I often SAY what I want the scene to show, then write details that show it, in the very next sentence. I can go back later and delete the TELL part, and improve the SHOW part. Often, the SHOW part is just fine. It's a funny thing to do -- you'd think I'd see myself doing it, and stop, but it's actually useful, like a miniature writing plan within the sentence. Maybe it comes from being a parent and having very little uninterruptible time, but I'm paranoid about losing my train of thought. So these sentences are like a note to myself about what I intended. Writing the TELL part lets me then focus on writing some action or details that show the scene.


  1. Taking some ideas from your previous post, I wonder if this would be possible. Maybe you could tag the TELL parts and SHOW parts. Then you could view the story with only the SHOW parts visible, or with only the TELL parts visible. Wouldn't that be interesting to see!

  2. Hey, another reason to create an xml dialect for fiction. I keep wanting to filter the text for various reasons. The only thing stopping me right now is that I'd like to have an easy way to get Word files out of such as system. Since MS is going in an XML direction, this is looking more and more likely. I imagine a very simple xml, at least to start. You could then graft on whatever xml terms you want for a particular purpose, and use simple xsls to filter them to a doc format or, say, an Open Office format.