Wednesday, June 2, 2021

#IWSG: Things Are Getting Drafty

 


It's Insecure Writer's Support Group Day! The first Wednesday of every month we blog about our thoughts and fears on writing, and offer encouragement to those who are struggling (hint: we all struggle). If you'd like to join, go HERE

Many thanks to our founder and host, Alex Cavanaugh, and this month's rotation of co-hosts: J Lenni Dorner, Sarah Foster, Natalie Aguirre, Lee Lowery, and Rachna Chhabria!

This month's optional question is: For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting? Is this dependent on your writing experience and the number of stories/books under your belt?

Good question. I don't have a set amount of time between first and second drafts, but I have noticed that the longer it sits, the more errors/typos/plot issues become apparent. A good month or two gives plenty of distance. It helps to put the second draft aside to stew for a while as well. For me, this doesn't change with experience. 

I actually looked this phenomenon up because inquiring minds want to know *winks*. It's called "change blindness":

The New York Times defined it as “the frequent inability of our visual system to detect alterations to something staring us straight in the face." ~BigThink.com

Anyway, it doesn't affect just writers, it affects everyone. 

See? We're not so different after all! 

How long do you shelve your first draft? 

Does your "change blindness" get better with experience? 

22 comments:

  1. It's true that you can spot errors easier when you give a manuscript a rest. And yes, we can't always see things right in front of our faces. That's SO true for me sometimes.

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    1. Some of the errors are absolutely hilarious too! LOL.

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  2. That's a perfect way to describe why writers make mistakes. Even reading out loud doesn't always catch the errors, even obvious one.

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    1. I keep meaning to read out loud but I forget to do it. I really want to try it ;)

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    2. It really does work! I’ve caught so many awkward sentences that way.

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    3. That's it! I'm going to do it!

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  3. All right - you sent me on a research journey, and I love that!
    Change Blindness is super fascinating. But, it can be an obstacle in our writing. We need "fresh" eyes, not to detect changes, but to detect what needs to be changed, lol.

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    1. "New eyes" is so helpful--you wouldn't believe some of the things I catch after a few weeks "rest". LOL.

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  4. I did not know there was a name for it. Cool, I learned something.

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  5. Becoming blind to errors is why it's so important to let your MS rest. And even then, you still miss some of those pesky typos.

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  6. Stepping away from a manuscript for a while can definitely help you see the errors more.

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  7. It’s not so much the changes I’m looking for, but what needs changing! In the end, I will never really spot my own typos, and have taken to having at least two people read the final draft to reduce them. But to read the MS with fresh eyes that see the good and the bad requires me at least 1-2 months. Sometimes years, but I think that experience has gotten me beyond that.

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    1. I'm with you--at least a month or two to come back with fresh eyes!

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  8. I'm with you. Letting things chill for a while helps weed out the flaws easier.

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  9. Hi Gwen, I think a month is perfect between the first draft and the start of revisions.

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  10. I usually also wait a month or two before I look at a story again.

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