Sunday, March 24, 2013

Writing in Layers

Sometimes, when you layer you have to
think about how everything will balance.
© Dzianis Miraniuk |
In my critique group, there are a couple of people who can write a scene the day it is submitted for review.  I marvel at that.  If I sent my pages that first day, they would probably toss me out of the group.  I need days to edit, tweak and modify what I've written.
My first draft is written quickly.  I don't worry about having the exact words or dialogue, then I go back and layer in details, setting, emotion, and reactions.  This re-reading and layering process happens over and over.  My process can't be completed in one sitting or even one day. 

It is obvious, based on my critique group's comments, when I haven't spent enough time editing before I submit my pages.  There will be comments asking for more emotion, or not understanding why people are reacting the way they are, etc. 

Or, alternatively, when I spend the time and add in those layers, those seem to be the parts that resonate.  Most, if not all of my critique partners, will comment on some of those last polished sentences and layered information.  When I get check marks beside a particular section by all critique partners, I know I did what I needed to do and it feels good.


How do you write?  Do you write your first draft quickly then edit a lot after?  Or, do you make your first draft as clean as possible as you write it?


sue said...

I write exactly how you write. I scribble down ideas and what will occur on the scene and then fill in the blanks. I don't understand how people can write in quotation marks, description etc all in the first "draft" I don't have a face to face critique group and maybe it's best I don't :D

Anonymous said...

It's always interesting to see how others write. I'm one of those people who polish as I write. I've never really been a first draft author. I try to get everything as perfect as possible from the start--description, dialogue, emotion. That isn't to say I don't still go back to edit and re-edit, but I do strive to make the scene as clean as possible the first time through. I've always written that way and, weirdly enough, it works for me. I'm not sure I could do it any other way.

I've even taken workshops where you're taught to turn off the inner editor and draft write but the lesson never resonated with me. I must be set in my ways, LOL, but at least I'm content with them.

Great post, Lorraine!

patonlorraine said...

Aha! A kindred spirit! :)

Luckily I know the deadline for my crit group submission ahead of time, so I have lots of time to layer in things.

patonlorraine said...

I am in awe of "clean" writers like you, Mae. :) I have several people in my writing group who write like you do, and I certainly can see the benefit!

And, yes, being content with your own process is the only thing that matters! If it all comes together in the end, it doesn't really matter how you get there, does it? :)