When I started writing my first book, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't know how to format anything, how to indent every time my characters talked, how to do a page break at a chapter end. I wasn't even sure how to write a compelling, real character. And don't even get me started on setting. I can't describe things creatively to save my life!
So basically, I was pretty much clueless.
We won't talk about my second book, but my third, Not Your Average Fairy Tale, I finally figured something out. There were plot holes, grammar mistakes, too many commas and overused words. But I couldn't see them, since I'd written the darn thing. I knew I had to get a critique partner to look over my stuff. So, I started looking and I found Katie. Oh, Katie, how I love you. She read through my first couple chapters and let me know what I needed to work on. Even though I was so scared to even have her read it, I loved the feedback and advice she gave me. It made my book so much stronger. And I actually knew what to look for and what to watch out for. Since then I've gained quite a few crit partners and some readers. I love them all. Their advice is invaluable. Seriously. If you don't have a crit partner, get one! It changed my writing life.
I've finished four books now. Three and a half of them I edited while I wrote. Which I will never do again. It took me FOREVER. Going through every sentence while I wrote, making sure they sounded good enough to move on to the next chapter or page. My brain finally go to the point where I stressed myself out every time I sat down at the computer. I couldn't edit and write at the same time. (If you remember how many issues I had with my book Bound ... Half of it had to do with editing as I was writing and not knowing where to go with the story.) All the stress drained my creativity. Until I realized I had a writing brain and an editing brain and they couldn't work at the same time. :)
Anyway, my WIP has been totally different. I'm getting the whole story out. Not editing one bit. It has been so much better for me. I'm learning to love writing again. To love getting the words out there and not worrying about if they make sense or not right now. First drafts always need work. ALWAYS.
My editing process has also changed. With this book I'll have 2 or 3 betas read through my rough draft. Pick out plot holes, confusing things, whatever. Then I'll go back and fix things. Line edit. Look for things like overused words and get rid of those nasty phrases I tend to use over and over and over. (My characters like to sigh a lot. And do a fair amount of chuckling. And search each other's faces. FYI.) Then I'll send it to my agent, get his thoughts. Then revise and send it out to my readers and fix all the little things. Sound fun? Yes. Yes it does. I'm so excited for this book I can hardly stand it! :)
But I'm not worrying about all the little things right now. When I get the story I want written, then I'll go back and change what needs to be changed. I'll freak out about people reading my book and not liking it. Stress about how to describe a certain thing without sounding stupid. But for now, I'm just enjoying the story. Loving my characters, and having so much fun thinking of things to throw at them. :)
How do you guys write? Edit while you go along? Get the whole draft out first?