Monday, December 20, 2010

3 Reasons Why Your Internal Editor Rocks

So. Today I've got something for you NaNo doers. Or for those who just started working on a first draft *raises hand* There's tons of conflicting info regarding writers' internal editors. 

Write first, edit later vs. Edit while you go.

Well, I'm going to try to defend both points *cracks knuckles* Today we start with the Edit while you go approach. Here's the original post from my blog:


Yes, NaNo is still happening, folks. No, I'm still not participating. *hangs head in shame*

BUT I figured I'd take more precious blog space to talk about something people usually freak out over. 

The Internal Editor.

*cue girl shrieks from scary movies*

What is the Internal Editor? Well, it's just like regular people--it can either be your friend or your enemy. The reason? It tells you what to do. While you're working on Draft #1. Which is supposed to suck.

Internal Editor will stop you every once in a while, maybe every two pages or so, and go, "Yo! This scene blows big time, G!" Yes, Internal Editors can be from the ghetto :D 

Anyway, while some people shut their Editors off during the first draft, I'm here today to defend the opposite. 

Here's why:

1) Your word count... well... counts.

You have a goal to reach 2k in an hour (I hate you...). But during first drafts, you simply type whatever comes to mind without caring about the coherence/structure/awesomeness of what you're typing. You just want to meet that freakin' goal. But if Internal Editor steps in, you get the best of both worlds. You get to 2k, and every word counts. It's not fluff or boring or stupid. It makes sense for your story, and you'll be able to push forward with a better outlook on what's to come. 

2)  Your writing/story improves along the way.

The more you read your own work and spot weak writing, the sharper your skills get. Typos, info dumps, inconsistent characterization--you can catch it all while it's still hot, and take it out immediately. Also, your story's thread is kept intact. You don't go off course by simply writing for the sake of writing something. You keep track of what you want to convey, and force yourself to stay faithful to it. By doing so, you get a clearer view on what your acts should consist of, what the chapter/scene goals are, and how everything will lead up to that ever-important climax. Sounds like hard work, but it's not--you go little by little until there's a whole bunch of awesome at the end.

3) Less hair pulling after you type THE END.

Every draft needs to be edited after it's done. I don't care what anybody says. There's no such thing as a perfect first draft. *rolls eyes* Even if your Internal Editor works along the way, you still need to have other people read and critique your baby, as well as a pair of your own eyes in the freshest state possible. BUT if the Internal Editor has been pulling its weight along the ride, those revisions you're dreading will be less than the amount you would've endured without it. And what could be better than less work??

So. There you have it. Internal Editors rock.

What say you, blogging buddies? Do you let your I. E. out while you're drafting, or do you shut the door in its face?


  1. Great points! It makes me feel so much better about not being able to turn off my internal editor. Try as I might, it will not stop!

  2. I'm almost finished my first draft, and yes my internal editor has been with me the entire journey. Sure that makes me write slower than some people, but I don't care.

    My 8 yo told me it's easy to write 2 K in an hour. You just write words over and over again. He was serious. I had to explain that was true, but it would be hell to edit and I would end up having to rewrite the novel so I might as well do it right the first time. ;)

  3. I do everything in my power to shut out the internal editor during my rough draft.

    Unfortunately, I am now on my revision phase... With my internal editor so thrilled to be let back in that he/she (haven't decided) stalled the entire rewrite.


  4. I used to not be able to ever shut off my internal editor, but I finally managed to do it for my NaNo novel. Now I have SO much work to do for revising, so I think I prefer listening to my IE just a little during the first draft. :)

  5. Oh yeah. You know my I.E. goes crazy whenever I write. The worst is when I finish writing a scene and realize it's all dialogue or all narrative. I'm prone to scrapping the whole darn thing. Sometimes I have to stay my hand until it's really time for executions. :)

    Great post. It really helped me slow down during Nanowrimo this year (which was a good thing, trust me).

  6. First draft stage is my favourite, I just write. But my I.E does pop out from time to time. LOL.

  7. I generally edit after I write. If I edit while I write the first draft, I never get anything written because I'm wondering how I could say it better.

  8. Great post. My editing seems to go on forever.


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