When's the last time you even looked at your story? You know you have to finish it, right?
There are so many ideas bursting in my head right now--I'm actually starting two stories, one story from two character's point of view.
But ack! I have my Five Glass Slippers story and my Cinderella retelling to finish!
Do not go back and edit your story.
It's tempting, it really is. Don't even look back on what you've written so far. Today, even, I wanted to do that to my current story, but I'd heard from another author not to.
I figured out pretty quickly why she said this.
You'll go back and read what you've written, and you'll get caught up in editing it. There are so many patches that need rewriting. If you don't go back and read it, you won't edit anything. And if you don't edit anything, you won't spend the time rewriting it when you could be writing more.
Don't stop. Don't look back. Just write.
Keep the ideas flowing, keep writing them down. Even if it's horrible, just write it down. Finish the first draft.
It's a first draft. Don't worry about it. Finish the story first. There's a process in writing: The first draft, the rewrite, the editing, and polishing.
Even if your story really stinks, it's okay. Write and write and write until you hit the end. Then and only then can you even start to think about reading it.
But here's a tip: When you finish the first draft, maybe even the rewrite, leave it be for a while. Take a month off, forget about the story.
Then you can come back. Then you'll notice what you have to rewrite (even after the rewrite, rerewrite) and everything that needs editing. It helps so much.
I have a story from last year's NaNoWriMo I wrote. I didn't finish it, but I came very near to the end (I started late and was new to NaNoWriMo), and you know, I thought it was pretty good. I looked back and editing, and was thinking, "Yeah, this is great."
Christmas came and I completely forgot about it. I left it for literally months before I remembered it. Actually, it was about three-four months ago that I remembered it.
That stuff was absolute crud. It needed (needs) major rewriting and I obviously didn't think about some scenes, I just wrote.
And that's okay.
That's the stuff you want to see. You need to see what needs fixing--rewriting--and that's how your story becomes better. Things you never noticed before will just pop up.
So basically, the steps.
1. Write. Do not read what you just wrote. NEVER look back at what you wrote.
2. Let it be for a month or more.
3. Read it and be horrified. "What was I THINKING?!"
I recently got a new writing buddy, and I think that's a great thing to also have. Join a writing group or something. You need views from different people to tell you what they like and don't like.
You might want to finish writing your story and doing the writing process, and send a little bit of it at a time to a writing buddy, but you can also send it as you go along. It helps!
You can comment your thoughts and we can discuss it, or maybe you have another tip you can share. Feel free to say anything, I'd love to hear it!
Also, a post by a favorite author and great blogger, Janice Hardy, about First Look at the First Draft. It's great, and I recommend reading it!
"There is no idea so stupid or hackneyed that a sufficiently-talented writer can't get a good story out of it."--Lawrence Watt-Evans.
Tell me your thoughts!