The Writing Process

Write drunk; edit sober?

8:51 PM

Editing has been on my mind a lot lately. I am currently working on the 2nd draft of the middle-grade novel I finished up this past summer, and I must say it has me giddy with excitement. I've done my fair share of editing shorter works, articles and blog posts, as well as some of the work of my relatives, but this is the first time I've begun to actually edit a full length manuscript of my own.

I've always written very clean 1st drafts. I can't help it. I'm not one of those people who can just let the words pour out onto paper (or computer) without thinking about it, accumulating pages of genius and  "rubbish" that will need serious revision. I am a slow writer, and I think very hard and very slowly while I do it.

I've tried to be more free with my writing in the past; to just let it and my mind run wild. Pretty much every book on writing has advised it. And the greats agreed.

But now, as I am in the process of editing my work, I find myself feeling very relieved that it is clean. The editing will not take as long, or be as hard. Yes, I will tweak the wording of things, re-write dialogue, descriptions, and even whole scenes. (I've actually got to take the first 5 chapters of my story, and intersperse them throughout the rest of the novel. :P ) But because I plotted the story out so heavily before I started, and thought my way through the whole slow process, there is so much less work to do. The plot structure is pretty sound, and the characters are consistent. It just needs to be tidied, and strengthened.

The point is, the more I write and discover myself as a writer, the more I feel the importance (for me) of "writing sober." I am not the sort of person who spontaneously explodes with brilliant ideas. I have to plan them. The more thoroughly I plan my story, characters, and plot structure in advance, the easier I feel it is for me to write, moving (a little bit) faster from chapter to chapter, with a clear sense of where it is all going.

I guess I don't really like surprises. ;)

So... how does the writing process work for you? Do you write "drunk" or sober?