Author Topic: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?  (Read 2731 times)

Offline mfarraday

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Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« on: January 25, 2012, 09:37:16 AM »
Does anyone else here get tangled in knots when they try to write?

I find the more i read books on how to improve my writing, the more tangled in knots i get. yes, yes, i know, people don't believe in writer's block. i myself do. i think anyone who suffers from anxiety believes in it.

well, i still write. but there is this nagging little voice in the back of my head, now, that tells me that this or that was mentioned in the book i read, that i am doing it wrong, that i am 'telling not showing' etc. etc.....

so i get stuck. for a little while. then i tell myself, oh, i'll come back later and edit it.  ::)

(....what if i DON'T come back and edit it? LOL....oh no.  :o )

i have the best intentions in the world. you know where THAT leads....

truthfully, i need to get better at
1) recognizing my mistakes/problems with technique
2) knowing how to get past those things, or fix them
3) recognizing how to fix them as i make those errors - so that i don't make them in the 1st place

its enough to make me feel paralyzed sometimes. fortunately i am finding some techniques for overcoming writer's block. i work on my notes, instead, or i use twitter to write down very small chunks of writing.

anyone else in the same boat? just venting.

thanks for listening,

Madeleine
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 09:39:13 AM by mfarraday »



Offline A.W.M

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 10:57:37 AM »
You are not alone. ;D  The advice to writers is overwhelming.  It is a wonder anyone can write without freezing up at the keyboard.  I am not a believer in writer's block as such, meaning I can always find something to write about, but there is that thought process that causes you pause as you start to put words to paper and attempt to remember all the advice you have available to you in those stacks and stacks of "How to write books," or the advice columns on the Internet.  How can you expect to be successful as a writer if you don't follow all the advice being offered.


Each time I receive a rejection, I find myself wondering, of the 999,999,999,999 pieces of advice I have read or heard, what one did I fail to heed?  

 I CAN"T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

The following is a blog I ran across the other day.  Warning, the blogger does use the F word at one point.  Although I don't agree with all he has to say, I do think it is a refreshing look at all the advice out there.

http://nihilistic-kid.livejournal.com/1732344.html
« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 11:28:21 AM by A.W.M »
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Offline Annmarie

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 11:37:25 AM »
Eventually, you have to cut loose from the writing books, Madeleine. They really can bog you down. It's all advice, much of it great advice. None of it is etched in stone. In ten years, they'll be telling us all something completely different.

We have to learn the basic stuff. Beyond that, we have to shut out the noise and write. Then put stuff up for review and learn from others. That can really give you a boost and make you grow when the writing books no longer help. :)
Work hard. Believe. Take a chance.

Offline threenorns

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 01:15:47 PM »
oh lordy, don't do that - for my money, i would just pick A book or AN expert and just go with them.

it's like training dogs - if i were to "read everything i can", i'd fast go out of my mind because no two dog trainers agree on *anything*.



as for the story, i would just get it down on paper.  get everything down - tangential diversions, awkward segues, meanders down totally irrelevent paths, the lot.  all the backstory that won't make it into the book past a vague reference.

THEN go back and clean it up.  start with the machete - hack out any scenes that don't move the story along.  then bring the shears - remove any details that don't make sense and don't fit.  then comes the paint and spackle - fix up bits that need more life and action.  then finally use the polishing cloth - that's when you tweak the language and make sure spelling and punctuation are correct.

Offline wanderer

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 01:42:07 PM »
Writing is a form of art, not science. So I don't think rigid rules, recipes, or equations can be followed to produce a piece. I suspect one is better off following their own thought processes. As mentioned, there are some fundamentals that should be followed but beyond those I don't worry about them. Writing should be mostly "fun," not work....IMO
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Offline Dawn

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 02:21:44 PM »
Very good point wanderer.
The day it stops being fun is the day you should stop. IMO
Time to take it serious and get the job done

Offline mfarraday

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #6 on: January 27, 2012, 01:18:33 PM »
thank you all for the supportive replies.

you know you're obsessed when you're watching 'Curious George' on tv and you keep taking phrases like 'George was puzzled' and modifying them til they show instead of tell.   



Offline Gyppo

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #7 on: January 28, 2012, 06:49:13 AM »
As our member 'Wolfe' has pointed out a few times, 'A good story tops everything'.  Which is why you see a published novel of barely 50,000 words, or a sprawling great tome like Ken Follet's Pillars Of The Earth- received with equal enthusiasm.

There are rules and conventions in publishing, quite often as a matter of convenience or habit, and you ignore these at your risk if you seek publication.  But they can be broken if the result is worthwhile.

I fall fairly firmly into the 'write first edit later' camp, because , for me, too much fussing around early on can sometimes spoil the storytelling flow.  But if you're naturally a fusser and fiddler then charging ahead regardless will clutter your mind with niggles that you want to go back and fix.  That will spoil your flow just as effectively

We all have to find a method which works for us.  Books by 'experts' have the clues, but not all clues have equal value to the individual writer.  It's like a sweetshop isn't it?  Some sweets are more tempting than others, some just look wrong without even tasting them, but after a while you have a handful of definite favourites you can rely upon.

Best wishes,

Gyppo
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2012, 06:57:29 AM »
Writing should be mostly "fun," not work....IMO

But work doesn't always have to be a tedious chore.  Teasing out the best results from a parcel of your own words can be fascinating, like puzzle solving.  It may look like work, it may involve considerable effort occasionally because 'inspiration' can be a fickle mistress, but don't let appearances fool you.

Some of the happiest and most fulfilled people you'll ever meet work their damned arses off at a job they love.  Writers may publicly grumble about 'the profession of loneliness' and 'countless bloody re-writes' but if they didn't really love it they'd do something different.

Gyppo
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Offline RJLester

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2012, 07:28:40 AM »
I can relate to the above. Since starting my journey as a writer, the advice given has, at times, left me somewhat psychotic.
But it is not this industry or creative endeavour that suffers from this side effect.
When starting out with the challenges of growing my own vegetables, the good souls at the gardening club, offered many pearls of wisdom, gained from years of successes.
Within weeks I found my head spinning in this maelstrom of advice.

These days, I nod appreciatively and do it my way.
The resulting crops, both good & bad, leave me contented.

I have a feeling that getting ones own hands dirty with soil & a dash of devil may care attitude, will work for me when I write. Only time will tell?

Sam Cooper

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2012, 11:41:57 AM »
It takes some time to balance writing. Rules and creativity working together. Don't be discourage that words get tangled, just untie the knots and learn.

I've changed my mind so many times on how best to edit. I think it depends on the writer. Where their writing stands. Critiques can be dangerous if just followed and not learnt from instead. Writing doesn't change overnight. Give yourself and it time to know each other.

Interesting reads

Sam

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #11 on: January 28, 2012, 12:03:10 PM »
Sam,

You made me stop and think a bit more.  Despite being a 'get it down and edit later' type I suspect much more subconscious editing goes on in my head than I realise before the thoughts hit paper.

A lot gets loaded into a writer's short term memory whilst he's working and it's a pretty fluid situation in there, influenced by what's already been written and what still lies ahead.

Cast your mind back to when you were a kid, writing stories at school.  You probably consciously thought a sentence through in your head before capturing it in ink.  Once it was captured you were probably reluctant to change it. 

As you became a more fluent writer this brow furrowing 'front brain' activity gradually shifted back into the subconscious instinctive part of your thinking.

I think this 'invisible editing' becomes more common with age and experience, until we learn to trust it.  And sometimes it bites us on the arse.  Who hasn't, at some point, looked back on a paragraph and thought 'What the hell was that supposed to be about?"

Gyppo
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Offline 510bhan

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2012, 12:20:13 PM »
I think that 'invisible editor' is what allows a 'write now/edit later' type person to press on with confidence as the writing should be reasonable and only require nit-picking, tweaking and fixing rather than a complete re-write.
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Offline Gyppo

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 12:58:54 PM »
If so the 'invisible editor' is the exact opposite of the 'internal editor' who can often stand in the way of new writers and make them double-guess every sentence.  Yet it comes from the same place in your head ;-)

This is one of the reasons I don't spend too long, normally, thinking about how and where the ideas come from.  Knowing too much might kill the 'magic'.

Take a warning from Tony Hancock.  A very funny man.  But he drove himself mad trying to figure out 'why' he was funny, and committed suicide.  Sometimes, when you open a watch the spring pops out and never goes back in again.

Gyppo
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Sam Cooper

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Re: Tangled in Knots, or just.....Edit later?
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 12:59:34 PM »
Yes, exactly correct.

I've been tangled in -  it - ly - the - conditionals(though - but) - similes(as if - like a) - gerunds(ing in past tense) - the list goes on. When to be used, when not. I stripped my writing bare of them until I came to understand that balance is the key.

Rules can only be broken when a writer understands the limit of their reach. Anyway, most rules are arguably flexible.

Subconsciously we correct using lessons we've learnt and applied.

My, I'm in a rambling sort of mood today.