Reply To: non outliner seeking help and support

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Kite Ayoul


I’m brand new here, and since Gracie jumped in to revive this conversation, I thought I’d do so as well.

I’m a pantser who corrects and marks-up as I write. (I have just started recently trying some outline-first fiction writing, but so far I don’t have any completed fiction manuscripts with that approach. For non-fic I write a chapter-level book outline but pants it within the chapters.)  As others have said, the reason people discourage editing as you go is to prevent yourself from bogging down. Therefore, if you’re doing fine rolling along, don’t let that “rule” bog *you* down. :-).

I have a rule that I never, ever, leave a caught *error* uncorrected (spelling, punctuation, clarity, etc.), because I never want to risk that same error slipping through proofreading down the road.  So whenever I reread, I always fix any typos, factual errors (such as – the character’s eyes were green earlier but suddenly they are brown??), or phrasing problems.  That doesn’t slow me down at all.

I also mark up notes to myself on developmental edits.  So I might insert a comment like ADD SENSORY DETAILS (I do this a lot – my first drafts tend to be *very* spare) or MOVE THIS TO EARLIER but without necessarily making the change then and there, since editing takes a different kind of concentration.  I’ll do editing stuff when I’m in that mental mode.

I would not worry too much about different “rules” about writing processes. If you are humming along with your writing and making good progress, then keep doing what you are doing.  If you start to bog down, then revisit your methods and see if there is something you can change to help yourself get moving again.


{FWIW (since you asked someone else above) my regular day job involves non-fiction writing and editing within my profession; I’ve done a little bit of fiction editing for private clients here and there over the years as a side thing.  In my personal life I have completed many, many still-unpublished fiction manuscript drafts (I am not especially productive, just old, ha) purely as a hobby for my own entertainment, and am currently working, in my slow and chaotic fashion, on getting the most-ready ones self-published.  The reason for self-pub, and for pushing off publishing the fiction at all for this long, is because I do too much writing as *work* in my daily life and made the decision many years ago that I would keep my fiction as my happy place that was purely fun and catharsis and not a job.}

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