Saturday, November 26, 2011

Writers--How to Entertain Your Future Self


Reading through a first draft can sometimes be painful. I mean, some of it's ok, but some of it ...wow. So I've made a habit of doing something to entertain my future self. Maybe you'd like to give it a try!

I've mentioned before that I'll leave reminders to myself to (research) something later, so I don't slow my momentum. But I'll also leave snarky comments to myself, just for fun. Some examples?

(seriously? that's the best you can do?)
(lame. rephrase)
(boring! Ambien alert!)
(dud)
(too vanilla. add sprinkles)
(cliche)
(show, don't tell. Doh!)
(clunky sentence)
(what were you thinking?)
(redundant)
(weird!)

My goal is to have fun with it, and try not to take myself too seriously. When I go through it the second time, I'll at least have a good laugh while I'm trying to clean up the mess.

Have you ever done anything like this? How do you soften the sting of a read-through?



29 comments:

  1. I've not left those kind of comments to myself, although one of my critique partners is the master of the humorous, snarky comments. Makes reading his critiques fun!

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  2. oh, yes. I leave myself notes, too, although mine aren't as inventive as yours :)

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  3. ah, if I only had the awareness that I was writing a clunky sentance while I was writing it :) The best I've come up with the the parenthetical "whatever" or "blah, blah, blah."

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  4. What a great idea, I just wince and rewrite and rewrite and then think 'why bother?' :0)

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  5. I love this idea. I don't do it, because I'm such a perfectionist in my writing and try to get everything right the first time. (Ha! Right... as if that could happen.) But I want to try this and see if it takes some of the stress off making it "perfect" the first time. :)

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  6. This is AWESOME! What a fun idea and a great way to keep you engaged in the rewrite. I'm totally trying this.

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  7. If the manuscript is half as entertaining as the comments I can't wait!

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  8. Julie - Since I'm currently participating in NaNoWriMo I will definitely remember this tip in a couple of weeks! Due to the time deadline, I'm afraid it might be pretty frightening when it comes time to read my 50,000 words! :0)

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  9. I've never done it myself, but I've seen it in manuscripts I've critiqued. I suppose I need to recognize when my writing sucks from the moment it's "put down on paper." I guess as it stands now, I must think everything I write is too good to self-criticize. How lame is that?!

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  10. What a fun idea! That will make editing so much more fun.

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  11. Wonderful idea! Reading through first drafts can be truly excruciating, especially when my only notes to myself are, "Fix this." I like your method much better.

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  12. First drafts, a lot like your first kiss. Sure not as good as you'd like, but probably better than we give ourselves credit for. And we often look back and chuckle at both...

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  13. You should add your comments as footnotes for the deluxe super special edition of your book. The best thing about reading back through a first draft is the delete button on my keyboard.

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  14. I will have to try that sometime . . . though I might end up putting more energy into the comments than the actual writing, which could be a problem. LOL.

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  15. I love it! Clever. I've made notes that say "cliche" and "redundant" but not some of the others. Great to amuse yourself on the revision stages!!

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  16. Ha ha, I make funny comments when I crit for someone else. When working on my own stuff, I'm one of those people who constantly stops and fixes. It may break the momentum for some, but I just can't move on without fixing. This is why I hesitate to number drafts...it's kind of hard to tell when I've already reworked a paragraph 5-6 times, but it may be only my second full read through of the ms. Ugh, I know, it sounds awful, but it's me:)

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  17. So cute! I do have fun and laugh at myself. I found it far more fun than crying. Oh...the things I've written... and cleaned up. Just hope I can still laugh if a few of those little messes are lurking with the dust bunnies somewhere.

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  18. Hahahaha! I love this idea, Julie. I'll leave a comment for myself to embellish or revise a certain part, but never thought to make it funny. Since I'm collaborating on one project right now, this is going to be more fun by leaving comments like that.

    Also, you jogged memories from my court reporting days. I once heard about another court reporter who would write snarky comments if the testimony was slow and she was bored. One time she wrote something like, "This so boring. I can't believe how boring this is." She would usually take it out when the shorthand notes were transcribed, or her scopist (person who would edit her transcripts) would take it out, but this time they missed it and it went out to the attorneys and the witness like that. Well, the witness refused to sign at the end of the deposition where it states that the testimony was accurate, and she insisted that she never said that! LOL!

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  19. Lol! I do the same thing, Julie! It's good to not take ourselves so seriously all the time. :)

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  20. un post. I have a really strict inner editor and then when I read hugely successful novels that I enjoy, but have things in them I would have thrown out because they seem implausable I wonder how much editing one should do.

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  21. I do that too! I have things like (get something that's not a cliche) and (you'll probably want to delete this later) and (add some description for a change) and (this is bad - change it). Love first drafts!! :)

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  22. You've got to make it fun...

    Loved the Ambien alert!

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  23. It's fun to kid around like that, keeps us on our toes! hehe

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  24. Hehehe that's clever. I don't write notes to myself unless I'm pretty sure I'll forget it. Otherwise I just draft without looking back, knowing that there's a rewrite on the horizon. :-)

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  25. This is such a good idea! I definitely need to start doing this. LOL!

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  26. hmm... I have actually never done this! :D But it's a fun idea. Sometimes when I get loopy from revising too much I'll do silly things, but not silly comments. Next time, totally trying it. :o) <3

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  27. Ha. Love this! I might try this next time I first draft. Not only does it provide a good laugh when revising, but while drafting, it can help you remember that it's okay that it sucks. You can always fix everything later. :)

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  28. I gotta try that. I have left myself notes (LOOK UP) or (RENAME) or (BETTER WORD) but I really ought to add some humor.

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