Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Eighty Percent

I have very supportive friends and relatives when it comes to writing, and these people, weirdly enough, ask me if a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

I find this a very odd phenomenon. Clearly, NaNoWriMo is mainstream.

With that said, I don’t do NaNoWriMo. I already am a very prolific writer. Literally, for me to write a novel, all I need is time to type. That’s it. I can go from start to finish along my meager, but effective, outline. When I am done with my current work in progress, I have two more novels waiting to get out. I come up with complete ideas and outlines faster than I can type.

By the way, this drives me absolutely nuts.

But I digress. This is why I do not do NaNoWriMo. It serves no purpose for me. A novel, for me, is twenty percent writing, and eighty percent editing. The editing gets me. If there were a NaNoEdMo, I would seriously consider signing up for that!

When we took a poll, many of you responded that you had indeed written a novel. I am curious: are revisions such a brain-chore for you?

Don’t get me wrong—I’m not complaining. I love the revision process. If I was to measure the brainpower required to revise versus the brainpower I expend to write, the revision process requires more thought and skill.

What say you? Reply with your thoughts on revising, and, if you are NaNoWriMo-ing, how it’s going!


  1. I have an overactive internal editor. I write two sentences and go back and revise them. I finish a chapter and revise it before I send it to my critique group for their comments. I revise and resubmit. And it takes me forever to finish stuff.

    I'm doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. It is hard for me to not go back and make changes as I go. Last night I remembered a detail that I want to put in somewhere several pages back. It will have to wait. The only way I can keep the momentum going is to not go back and read what I've written. As long as I do that, it's going great. I'm actually ahead on word count so far.

  2. Revising is a huge chore. That said, I had been revising a YA fantasy when NaNo came along and, for the first time, I signed up. I had another story I wanted to write, and, well, there's no time for editing now is there??? How sneaky of me. I've written 6,287 words in three days but whether I make 50K in a month is unknown.

  3. This thought sets me free: 80% of a book is editing. One step at the time. Collaboration. Process.

    It's achievable. I don't have to be brilliant. Just faithful.

    Yes, I knew that. But having a number to hang on to is handy. Kind of like a hook for my mind.

  4. Hmmmm, I find editing easier. I may write 10 pages on a first draft in a day, if I'm really good, but in an editing session I may fix 50 or 60. I feel a lot more productive, like the book is getting finished faster, even though I may have just thrown out a bunch of pages.

    I think it's because I tend to work out a lot more of the details in my head, before I put pen to paper. (I do the same when I write software)

    But as long as the book gets done, I don't think it matters how it gets done.

  5. I like revision and editing - it's simply really wonderful knowing that you're improving the story and making it the best it can be.

    And I am doing nanowrimo, but mostly because friends are. I don't need the push to write, the daily word goal is less than 200 more than what I would normally do so it's not much of a challenge.

    There is actually a nanoedmo btw, though I can't recall what month it's in! It's not as big as nanowrimo, I think it's 50 hrs of editing in one month.

  6. i *hate* revisions. i loved my first novel and between college, job hunt, and relationships it took a total of 3 years to end up all typed out. By then i loved it but shrank from rereading a few sections that are waaay too long/pointless/incoherant/bad. i don't wanna look at it anymore i want to shake my laptop upside down and have all the crap fall out and the decent stuff stay in. like an existential etch-a-sketch.

  7. I'm NaNo-ing for the first time this year and I decided to do it just to see if I could, indeed, write a novel. I knew that if I just sat down and said, "Right. That's it. I'm going to write a novel now." I wouldn't do it. I needed that structure and pressure to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Just so I can say I tried it. I might not do it, but I'm having a good crack at it!

    For me, it's not about producing a work of publishable standard. It's about sitting down and actually writing. If I think I have something I can work on at the end of it, all well and good. But if I don't, at least I've got it out of my system and have had the opportunity to practice my writing - so it'll be time well spent.
    I have ideas jumping through my head all the time, and no, I can't type my short stories etc quick enough for my liking either and yes, it does annoy me too!



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