Those of us who struggled to master the skill of writing discover these simple pieces of advice that we bump into with high frequency. They usually include three techniques. First, show don’t tell, which means to engage the readers to interpret all the details by themselves. Second, write what you know, which means to interest the readers with the information or event that you know as the back of your hand so that the audience will immediately follow your thoughts. Finally, kill your darlings, which refers to deepened readers’ emotional investment achieved by the writer removing significant elements (including characters) of the story. Although these writing strategies might be complicated, revision is a bog-standard technique which bases on the principle: writing is rewriting. The primary goal is to produce the brightest ideas, extract them out of your mind, and put them on the paper (or on the screen in our case). You should do it as quickly as possible with no corrections of grammar mistakes, sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling. There is no need to focus on details. It should be a prompt draft transforming main ideas. You will shape it up later. Similar to other writing pieces of advices, this one is datable. Some of the writers are likely to polish every single sentence when creating the first draft. It means they will not spend much time on editing later. Conversely, other writers utilize the drafting technique to navigate through their ideas. Therefore, when they finish drafting, they will spend much more time on rewriting then.
Do It Right the Very First Time
If you are quite knowledgeable about your project, the “polishing” process may suit you the best. For instance, if you have already created your characters and developed a broad outline of your future story, then, you may concentrate on other features when working on your first draft. You may think that writing a perfect story on the first draft will save you time. Personally, I doubt about that. Drafting means rereading and improving each sentence and paragraph several times before going on to the next. Anyway, you are revising it multiple times, but you are doing it on the sentence or paragraph level, without reviewing the whole work. However, I often utilize this method when writing blog posts, as it happens to be quite beneficial. Usually, I identify fewer flows when proofreading. Besides, following this method, I create an outline of the post first. Thus, drafting process gets smoother if I already know which message I am to deliver. When drafting, I consider each sentence and paragraph carefully. Lastly, I have to simply polish my text with a single proof. Surprisingly, drafting proceeds pretty fast. Considering that I compose short pieces of writing, I manage to keep all the ideas in my head during the process. Undoubtedly, when creating a more complicating piece such as a novel, it involves much more efforts and activities.
Revise It as Many Times as Needed
Writing a book is a hard task. Usually, writers devote more than a year of fruitful and persistent work simply to create a first draft. For instance, if you are composing a novel, there are a lot of things that you have to take into account. They are a plot, scenes, heroes, story acts and actions, description, dialogues, and themes. Even if you come up with a great idea on how to develop your story, when you start expanding it, you will face various kinds of problems. Some of the problems may even put on hold your writing progress. So, when all of the grammar, punctuation or spelling flaws draw your attention every time when working on the first draft, you will happen to stop at every single sentence to iron out the wrinkles. Thereby, when doing so, you risk losing a track of thoughts and ideas. If you are plunged into the particular scene, you may miss the entire flow as you pay too much attention to every detail. Therefore, during the revision process, you can remove the excessive pieces of text editing the whole story or develop the narrative expanding the details. You have a chance to fix grammar mistakes, clear the text from all the typos, and improve each part to shape up the story. Every time you do revision, you refine the text and make it better. All these activities aim at polishing your project. A vast majority of writers tend to produce the best results when applying this method. If you are to write by rewriting, consider reviewing your project several times. Take a look at the following action plan:
- First draft: if you are to compose the first draft, concentrate on putting all your ideas on one page. Do not return nor check it up. Moreover, do not even try to re-read it unless you are totally ensure how to get your bearings.
- Review: read your draft attentively and note down the significant problems that you have to address later. At this stage, you may have to change the names of your characters, carry out the research so that you clarify the facts, move big sections around or introduce major changes to the narrative.
- Rewrite: at this stage, you have to rewrite the entire draft utilizing your notes.
- Revise: reread your draft and make some necessary changes to it. Develop the dialogues, fit the descriptions to the scenes, consider the sentence flow and word choice. Besides, you should do separate revisions: one for fact checking, another for dialogues, and the other for descriptions.
- Edit: when rewriting and revising your text, you might have cleaned up numerous technical errors. However, when editing, you should simply focus on grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, and spelling. If you happen to be unsure about the grammar rules, this is a very stage to look them up.
- Proof: Lastly! Now, you are checking your writing for any possible typos.
However, sometimes you have to go through some steps over and over again. For instance, I usually advise writers to proofread their text until all flows are detected. Ideally, it would be great if you could hire a professional editor to do this task. Keep in mind that it does not matter how many times you revise the paper, there will still be some mistakes or typos.
How Much do You Rewrite?
Are you brilliant at producing the first draft? Do you prefer to utilize the well-known technique that writing is rewriting? Do you mix different writing methods depending on a project? Personally, I do. Share your experience with us, leave a comment!