One of the things about being a writer that some people often overlook is how much time goes into revisions.
For me, I spend less than 25% of my writing time on the first draft. It’s probably closer to 10%.
Part of it is because I am a pantser. That means I do not do extensive plotting before I start writing. I do spend a lot of time thinking about my characters, their relationship, and their romance. But the actual progression of the story happens as I write. My characters tell it to me, and if I try to be an author-god, it gets bad quickly.
Because I am a pantser, I spend a lot of time revising. I have to go through and make sure the plot works. That characters are consistent throughout. That what happens in act three has the groundwork laid in act one.
Yes, this is a lot of work. But even though I tried again last year to plot out a novel, I made it less than ten thousand words in and was done. The story died. I did write three other first drafts during the year though. Without an outline. *sigh*
Yeah, I don’t like how my brain works either. But I have learned to accept it.
But this does make it difficult to sit back and simply enjoy other works of fiction. Whether an RPG, a movie, or a novel, that editor brain doesn’t seem to shut up.
Interestingly, I have different levels of editor brain depending on the medium.
For example, with video games, I am far more lenient. Yeah, the story is poorly written, the characters inconsistent, and the plot is hanging by a thread, but a lot of the game is the battle mechanics. If it’s a strategy game with cool characters, even inconsistent characters, I am pretty forgiving.
For books and movies, though, I am more merciless.
For example, Frozen II. if you have not watched it and are planning to, and don’t want spoilers, don’t read ahead. But I figure it’s out on DVD now, so it’s safe to talk about.
Yes, Frozen II was a visual spectacle. I give it that. The animation was amazing. The songs are still being sung in my house *grumble*. But the plot? The characters? *shakes head*
- I really struggled with Elsa simply “freeing” the unknown magic simply because it called to her and might be as confused about its identity and where it belonged as she was. Throughout the story, she is a cautious character very concerned with ruling her people well.
- Later, we have the trolls tell Anna to protect Elsa from the magic. It is alluring but dangerous. However, then the crux of the story is Elsa literally pushing Anna away and embracing this same magic?
- Elsa literally dies at one point in the movie, and is magically resurrected. Not sure how…They did establish Olaf coming back with the water has memory, but that doesn’t explain Elsa
All in, while my family loved the movie, I had to suspend a lot of disbelief. Too much.
I am even worse with books because then there are no pretty visuals to distract me.
I try hard to turn off my brain and enjoy entertainment, but I think this difficulty is just what it’s like for a writer sometimes.
However, it also means when something is well, really well, you get that, too.
And then you try to figure out how they did it so you can do it, too.