Meagan Spooner
Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

2017-11-06T11:42:38-05:00

Beth Revis, New York Times best-selling author of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE

Absolutely brilliant. This is the sci fi I’ve been waiting for! Action, romance, twists and turns–this book has it all!
"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

2017-11-06T11:44:34-05:00

E. K. Johnston, #1 New York Times best-selling author of Star Wars: Ahsoka

"A literally breathtaking archaeological expedition. Spooner and Kaufman prove once again that no one does high-stakes adventure shenanigans like they do."
One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

2017-11-06T11:48:19-05:00

Marie Lu, New York Times best-selling author of the Legend trilogy

One of the most intense, thrilling, and achingly beautiful stories I’ve ever read. Kaufman and Spooner will break your heart with skilled aplomb, and you’ll thank them for it. Absolutely incredible! If I have to, I will come to your house and shove this book into your hands!
With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

2017-11-06T12:09:41-05:00

Jodi Meadows, author of the Incarnate series

With rich, complex characters and a dynamic—and dangerous—new world, THESE BROKEN STARS completely transported me.
Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

2017-11-06T12:13:28-05:00

Veronica Rossi, author of UNDER THE NEVER SKY

Intense and absorbing, Skylark transported me to a world of magic and danger unlike anything I’ve read before. I loved Lark, and was riveted by her journey of survival and self-discovery. Dark, original, and beautiful, this is a novel you don’t want to miss.
Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

2017-11-27T09:17:02-05:00

New York Times bestselling author Carrie Jones

Skylark's rich narrative and plucky heroine will transport you into a mesmerizing and horrifying world.
With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.

Booklist (Starred Review)

2017-11-27T10:01:57-05:00

Booklist (Starred Review)

With its blend of dystopian, steampunk, and generally fantastical elements, Spooner's follow up is even stronger and more gripping as the debut and is sure to ensnare further loyal readers.
This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.

VOYA

2017-11-27T10:05:07-05:00

VOYA

This intriguing dystopian adventure's depiction of the stand this strong female protagonist takes against the horrors of her world is fast-paced, compelling, and un-put-downable.
Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.

VOYA Magazine, starred review

2017-11-27T10:27:43-05:00

VOYA Magazine, starred review

Once again, the worldbuilding is superb, the characters fully fleshed out and intriguing, the battles riveting, and the edge-of-the seat suspense compelling. Teens looking for a well-written dystopian adventure with steampunk elements in the magical machines created by the Architects will enjoy spending time with Lark and her companions.
An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?

Children's Literature

2017-11-27T10:29:04-05:00

Children's Literature

An extremely entertaining tale of past, present and future leaving the question: where does humanity stand when the best laid plans backfire?
A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.


Marie Lu

2017-11-27T15:17:04-05:00

Marie Lu

A haunting and romantic exploration of love and what sacrifices come with freedom.
Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

VOYA

2017-11-27T15:18:24-05:00

VOYA

Amazing. That one word describes the whole book.

Wisdomous Wednesday: Don’t Edit While Writing

Wisdomous Wednesday is a weekly series of posts with advice about writing ranging from craft to navigation through the publishing world. If you have some wisdomous thoughts you’d like to share here, don’t hesitate to contact me. I love advice from other writers!

Today’s tip is for writers who have a tendency to get “stuck” while writing first drafts. I speak from experience–I often get bogged down somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 words into the manuscript. The manuscript seems sludgy, and no matter how I tweak it, scenes aren’t flowing the way they should. More often than not I used to psych myself out of the manuscript entirely, abandoning it for a new idea.

And that’s no way to end up with a finished book! So this advice is for people who have trouble getting to “The End” on that first draft.

Resist the Urge to Edit As You Go!

Many writers, when sitting down to resume a work in progress, will read the last several pages (or chapters) of their manuscript to get back into the swing of things. On the one hand, this can be a great way to recapture the mood of your last session, get excited about the scene you’re about to write, and remind yourself of why you’re taking time out of your day to work on this project. On the other, though, it can also be a trap!

When I reread I can’t help but edit. I see sentences where I’m like “OH GOD WHAT WAS I THINKING” and then I have to rewrite them because I physically cannot leave them the way they were. But then I have to rewrite the next sentence, too, because my previous change made inconsistencies. Then I have to rewrite the whole scene to make my two shiny new sentences work. Then I realize that actually I need to rewrite the whole chapter, and it’s at that point that I realize the entire book is hopeless because I basically need to redo all of it.

Then I take a baseball bat to my computer and go watch TV.

As my long-suffering critique partner is so fond of telling me, you can’t edit a blank page. If you spend all your time reworking what you’ve already written, you’ll never get the book finished. And you see things so much more clearly when you’ve got a complete first draft to work with. Rather than get wrapped up in the minutiae of line-editing as you go, try just getting the words down and forgetting about them, always moving on. Allow yourself to read back only a page when you first sit down to work, so you remember where you were. If you need to reread your manuscript, set time aside from your writing time to read it, as you would read a book. If you see big picture things you need to change, write them down in a file somewhere and save it for when you’ve finished, and want to start draft two.

Plenty of writers edit as they go, and do brilliant work. This is just one of those things you can try if you’re finding yourself bogged down, or losing interest halfway through a manuscript, or just finding it impossible to get through to the end. But as LeVar Burton would say, don’t take my word for it!

(Yeah, I just got done watching a megaton of Star Trek: Next Generation. Which made me segue into watching Reading Rainbow for the nostalgia. Yes, I’m a geek. Is anybody shocked by this? Anyone? Bueller?)

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29 Responses to “Wisdomous Wednesday: Don’t Edit While Writing”

  1. I must try this with my next project. I fell into the editing trap at about 2oK words and have taken months to get going again. I have finished the novel, but refuse to look at it for another couple of weeks.

    I like your suggestion and think that I could most definitely benefit from writing this way. Your ideas will save me lots of time, not to mention frustration.
    One thing that I will have to abide to, though, is my detailed outline. That’s just my style.

    • Meagan says:

      I hope it helps!

      I’m actually envious of people who can write with outlines! I feel like it’d be a much more organized way to go about things. I tried it once and it just didn’t work for me, but maybe someday I’ll learn! 🙂

  2. yes.. to resist… and this is why I write in November… NaNoWriMo… makes me resist. 😉

  3. Beth says:

    It’s so easy to fall into that trap, isn’t it? “You can’t edit a blank page” — love it!

  4. Amie Kaufman says:

    Bless the random person on the NaNo boards who once mentioned that blank page to me.

    What a timely post — it’s like you knew I was forgetting my own advice this week!

  5. I do some line editing while drafting. HOWEVER, I was editing myself into writer’s block at one point, so I had to find a balance. Sometimes I make myself free write a scene, no matter how crappy, just so that I get the skeleton there. Then I can go back later to add other layers.

    Great post!

    • Meagan says:

      This is such good advice, and the center of one of my upcoming posts! Giving yourself permission, or freeing yourself, to write scenes that are less-than-perfect (or even less-than-good!) can be so helpful. Sometimes the need to get it down right prevents us from getting it down at all!

  6. Julie Dao says:

    Aha! This was the lesson I learned during NaNoWriMo. I tend to be a perfectionist and get bogged down by trying to make everything in tiptop shape before I move onto the next chapter – sooo counterproductive. But thanks to NaNo, I’ve learned that a first draft can’t get finished unless you go go go! Last week, I sat down with my WIP and re-read the whole thing, but instead of making edits right away, I took out my Moleskine and jotted down a few notes to remember when I go back and revise for real. I don’t know how well this process is going to work, but we’ll see in a month or two! Great post, Meagan.

    • Meagan says:

      Definitely keep me posted on how it goes for you! It’s one of those things that of course isn’t going to work for every writer, but I also think it’s something worth trying.

      Sigh. I <3 Moleskines. I need to get a new one!

  7. Kari Marie says:

    This is an important topic and you’ve given a great way to tackle it. I read somewhere that making edits is like eating potato chips – you can never have just one. I’ve fallen into this trap many times and have adopted a project notebook for all such things. It keeps me focused and moving forward.

    • Meagan says:

      Oh man, I love that! It’s so true–you can never have just one. 😛 It’s definitely an addiction! I like the idea of having a notebook for editing thoughts.

  8. Jenny says:

    I definitely have this problem. After submitting chapter three for like the fifth time to my critique partner, they insisted that I had to move on: a new chapter every meeting.

    • Meagan says:

      How awesome though that you have a critique partner who made you get going!

      And why is it always chapter 3? I rewrote my chapter three like half a dozen times!

  9. Nas says:

    Thanks for sharing such a wonderful post, must give it a try.

  10. Great advice.

    I’ve heard of authors like you who get stuck in the editing phase while in the first draft of a book. I’m able to get back in the flow and voice with minimal editing, and move on. And I find it’s a tighter first draft once I’m done. But I’ll have to see when I write my next manuscript if it continues to work for me.

    • Meagan says:

      Yeah, some writers have no problem doing edits while they write. I used to think that was the best way for me to do it, until I got so frustrated with my progress (or lack thereof) that I tried something different. You never know what’ll end up working. 🙂

  11. I try my hardest not to reread, because I get stuck editing. It’s a waste of time, not just because I’m not progressing with my draft but also what I’m editing might be later cut during revisions.

  12. Totally needed this post… I’m at the BOGGED DOWN stage on my current WIP, and not motivated at all to work on it. I need to get back in the zone and quit nitpicking at it… Thanks, Meagan!

    • Meagan says:

      Resist the urge to pick! Like the age-old parental wisdom says: “Picking at it won’t make it better!” Etc. Yeah, bogged down is definitely the right word for it. I get SO stuck when I don’t force myself to move forward!

  13. Carol Riggs says:

    Great advice! I try not to edit as I write, but when I start writing for the day, I go over the previous scene and tidy it up. This not only gets me into the flow of the story again, but lets me see where I’ve been, in order to know where I’m going. I can’t do the latter if it’s all messy and convoluted. Then when I’m done with the whole novel, I hack and slash and do a “real” edit. 🙂

    • Meagan says:

      I usually only give myself the previous page to get back into it–otherwise the writing workshop inner editor comes out and drags me down into the pit of revisions! 😛

  14. Talli Roland says:

    I push right through to the end before even touching it. It’s the only way that works for me! 🙂

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