Hey, that’s mine! Oh, no it’s yours

What’s mine is yours, what’s yours is mine. Is this true of writers and readers?

My writing is moving along at the pace of snail, or maybe of a turtle, I’m not sure which is slower. I’m at the stage where everything is being dissected, and re-written, and taken apart, and put together, and then I begin it all over again. I was wondering if I would be writing this novel for the rest of my life, that’s how slow it’s moving, when I saw Isabel Huggan’s on Book Television.

She was talking about how she gets her mentees to get the most into their work. Writing is re-writing, she said, and then she made the audience repeat it. Writing is re-writing.

Your stories will be released without you. You will not be able to clarify for your readers, you will not be able to tell them keep reading it will get better. In the end, your readers are more important than you the writer, because it will ultimately belong to them and not you.

How to get there? Question everything you write, every word, every space. Dig deep, she says. Go so deep that you know the feeling, sight, smell, and taste of everything. Ten drafts, twelve drafts, and then maybe you’ll find the right way your story needs to be told.

Sounds difficult? Well it is. And it isn’t, because once it all becomes that clear there’s nothing else required. Am I there? No, but I’m on my way.

“The world does not need any more mediocre books,” Isabel Huggins says here.

How about you? Do you spend more time on your first draft, or on subsequent drafts?

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13 thoughts on “Hey, that’s mine! Oh, no it’s yours

  1. I spend more time on my first draft than some because I just can’t write like a crazed person powering through without editing at all. But even so, I spend a lot of time rewriting. Not in the sense that I scrap the first draft and start over, but I work on every single sentence — word by word. I don’t think my first novel is mediocre, but I hope each successive one will be better. I’m willing to put in the time.

  2. I forgot to comment on this most important point: “In the end, your readers are more important than you the writer, because it will ultimately belong to them and not you.”

    I had to read that three times. I know that’s true, but I don’t believe I’ve ever really thought about it. I’ll be pondering that for a while now.

    1. That’s what she said, and I do agree with her. It’s about releasing the book out there, without us, so it has to stand on it’s own.
      In On Writing, King talks about how he thinks most of us have that one person we write for, our taget, our audience. When I read, I don’t feel I have a connection to the author, only to the story.

  3. I spend more time on subsequent drafts. My first draft is to uncover the story. The second probably takes the longest, because that’s the phase where I take everything apart and re-construct, as you’re doing now.

    1. Yes, but Cathryn I’m on my third or fourth draft thus far, not my first!!
      I’ve taken it apart, and glued it back together, and am now doing it all over again!!

  4. Definitely longer on revising/rewriting/editing than on the first draft. I do know some people who spend a lot of time on their first and then simply polish, but I don’t believe I’m anywhere near that skilled just yet 😉

  5. I do spend more time on my first draft. Like Linda, I can’t write through without revising as I go. The moment I see something that needs changing I have to do it while the thought is still fresh.

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