IWSG...Getting It Right the First Time

9:59 AM Elizabeth Seckman 62 Comments

It's the day to support a fellow writer out.
Special thanks to our captain...Ninja Master, Alex J. Cavanaugh.
To read more about IWSG and read other posts click HERE


Real writers...successful writers...get it right the first time.

They spin words off their keyboard as fluid as honey. A thick, rich, unbroken chain of sweetness.

They never use backspace or delete. Never round file whole chapters...whole stories because something just didn't work.

And then there is YOU. Yeah, you...sitting there, sweating over that same sentence time and time again...you're just a hack...a museless, talentless wanna-be who should probably stop worrying over words and get a hobby.

Maybe sky diving? Something safe and easy.

Sound Familiar?!

Now, go tell your brain to shut up and get back to work.

Writing is effort.

The undisputed dark side champion, Stephen King, explained why he revised The Gunslinger years after first publication:

1. It was written by a very young man.
2. It contained errors and false starts.
3. It didn't sound like the rest of the books in the series.

"...that's all rewriting amounts to: straightening the pictures, vacuuming the floors, scrubbing the toilets. I did a great deal of housework in the course of this revision, and have had a chance to do what any writer wants to do with a work that is finished but still needs a final polish and tune up: just make it right."
         Stephen King...on why he revised an already published work                                                                           

So, it seems great writers are tenacious...they aren't slaves to the muse, they hold that chubby little guy* hostage till they get what they want!

*My muse looks like an even-smaller-than-life version of Danny DeVito complete with cigar and rainy day comfie sweats.  






62 comments:

  1. Wow. I had no idea about The Gunslinger, one of my favorite books.

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    1. I just started reading it...and it's the revised edition. Says in the forward, he also revised "The Stand".

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  2. I like that you cited Stephen King. Everyone worships him, and to know he rewrote a novel says a lot.

    I wish I were perfect and could write perfectly the first time! Someday maybe....ha! Yeah, right. ;)

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    1. I'm inclined to think the people who say they do it perfectly the first time are just fibbers.

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  3. Love. This. Post.

    There's all this talk about writers who write a book in a month, send it to an agent, get signed, and have a pub deal a week later. It's ridiculous! I LOVE the quote... it is work. And the fact that Stephen King has such a blunt attitude to what revising is, makes my day! Loved this.

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    1. His total honesty is what makes me a total groupie. He earned his crown. He is the King, and I bow to his excellence.
      (but don't be upset Morgan, I wrote a novel in an hour and sold it ten minutes later...sure I was 12 and my mom was the buyer...it still counts!)

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    2. Elizabeth,

      Yo Momma said not to be fibbing.

      'Nuff said.

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    3. But Koopaloop, lying and storytelling is my trade!!

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  4. I adore the sound of your muse! Thank you for a really encouraging post :-)

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    1. I think my biggest stumbling block was thinking that if I had to work at a passage over and over, then I had no talent. I figure more people than just me have that hang up!

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    2. Yeah, I identify with that stumbling block! you get the feeling that it shouldn't be such hard work and that it wouldn't be if you were REALLY talented! Now I just tell myself that if something's worth doing, it's worth doing properly! It's like sanding down the rough edges on a piece of beautiful carpentry!

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  5. I love this post, especially the idea of sky diving being a safe and easy hobby. By the way, your muse sounds awesome.

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    1. I've never done it...but really...how hard could it be? You just jump out of a plane, right?

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  6. I am giggling at the image of your muse! :D

    But yes, I agree, writing is work, and lots of it!

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    1. He's a hottie Kyra. And he works best when fed donuts and french fries. :)

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  7. Lol, I love that! And I love the image of your muse. ;)
    Great advice, Elizabeth. I always love visiting your blog! :)

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    1. Well, I LOVE having you Rachel!!! Come on back anytime. :)

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  8. Hard works seems so much more doable than perfection. Great post!

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    1. Perfect people are suspicious...I'm almost certain they are aliens or something.

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  9. Love the description of your muse! Thank you for this great post.

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    1. We all need to give that voice in our head an image!

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  10. Stephen King is a master and I'm glad that even he knows that there's room for improvement. Your muse sounds fun.

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    1. He is fabulous in his humility and determination. I think I enjoy his autobiographical/advice stuff as much as his novels!

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  11. Awesome post - time to take some muses hostage! Love it! Cheers!

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  12. Stellar post :)

    Especially as I am re-reading "IT" for the third time in nearly thirty years...

    That and the Stand are Da Bomb, so thanks for sharing the revision news :)

    Re. the post... yeah, This. Is. A. Slog.

    But, I wouldn't have it any other way... seriously.

    No, seriously... (in June 2009, I was *one* person (who needed to say yes) away from a huge deal with one of the Big Six, but I wouldn't be the writer I am today, 'cos now I've gone through an "internship" and I understand my craft soooo much better :)

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    1. Every part of the journey is a lesson! Learn from them and keep rolling on. :)

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  13. The only thing I know for sure about the writing process is that no one gets it right the first time, even if they hide their previous drafts and lie about it!

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    1. I wonder...how much ink and parchment did Shakespeare go through to look flawless in the end?

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  14. Ugh, I NEVER get it right the first time! Writing is definitely hard work and a long process for me! I hear about people who bust out stories in such a short amount of time, and I'm like, how do they do it?! :-p

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  15. I love that Stephen King wasn't perfedt right off that bat. Ooops, is that bad of me? But if he can be a bit insecure, then I guess we can, too.

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    1. I love his candor and honesty...it gives me hope. :)

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  16. I didn't know about the revisions to The Gunslinger.

    Experience, hard work, and rewriting pays off.

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    1. Yes they do. And it's good to know that even the greatest among us learn and grow.

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  17. Wow I can't believe how much I've missed! I've got some catching up to do. So you've got another book coming out???? That's soooo awesome! Can't wait. Past Due is next on my ebook list :) I will def. be putting a post up when I read it :)

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    1. Yes I do! The next book is about Tres Coulter's (the guy from Past Due) younger brother Craig. And if things go well, there will be a third...the story of the youngest Coulter brother.

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  18. your muse image is hilarious!

    i hate housework! editing is almost as bad and just as eternal, it seems.
    but the results are much more rewarding for the editing sweat!

    and how did those folks way back when do edits w/o word processing? or even white out! still amazes me & i bet most of them did get most of it right the first time...(i guess thats an urban legend)

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    1. They probably had lots of pages with scratches through them!

      (I agree...housework stinks...editing is way better!!)

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  19. Yea, great. Now I don't need the guilts for taking so long with my books. I keep revising, even the short stories. And combing through just to get something on my new blog is making me rethink. Enough of that.

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    1. We don't want to let the reader down, right? So being mindful and careful is just good manners. :)

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  20. Since my muse is not chubby at all..quite the contrary slender and sexy...I suppose I am inspired by the wrong...entity..That explains my writing pause :)). Kisses.

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    1. LOL...slender and sexy can work too...as long as he doesn't become too much of a distraction!!

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  21. Stephen King has the best writing advice! Yes, real writers sweat it out and clean it up! Great post!

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    1. Yes he does! One of my favorite bits of wisdom was in an interview and he said he hated it when people said they wanted to write to have a life of leisure and he said that was stupid. Writing was hard work, if you want easy, be an artist, they just splash paint on canvases.
      Their is a reason he is leading and we are following!!

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  22. I read almost nothing but Stephen King when I was in high school. Very cool story.

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    1. I never read him until recently. I'm very late to the party!

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  23. Totally agree. It's a lot of work. It may not be the same as hauling lumber, but it's work!

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    1. True. And you know, I've hauled lumber and I've found it's those times when I've gotten my best story ideas. Maybe the extra blood flow helps jump start my brain!

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  24. Some days hauling lumber sounds like a great option. At least at five o'clock you can see the pile of logs you've made and you can quit. :-)

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    1. And it's a great way to get in shape. Work hard at writing and get a flabby butt to show for it!

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  25. I agree. Thanks for reminding me! We are all in this together, even the big writers, and we all work in the same way. It is no fantasy what we do, but we love it :)

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    1. I think sometimes we trick ourselves into thinking that if we are to be successful, we have to be lucky. What we really need to do is just keep working!

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  26. King is the man! And wouldn't I love to write words down without ever having to go over them again. That would take out 95% of the work. If I keep at it, maybe someday ... :)

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    1. According to King, you're deluding yourself...it will always be work.

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  27. I love the way King thinks. Also Ann Lamott - she always says first drafts are crap, and I have to agree. Mine is always rubbish!

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    1. Sometimes I will read over a first draft and keep thinking...what the heck was I thinking? Where was I going with this?!
      (glad it's not just me!)

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  28. Just yesterday someone asked me if I got my novels published when I said I was starting a new one. I said no. He looked like I had failed. My husband and I know that's not the way it works. It takes time and effort and lots of effort over time.

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    1. Unless they've walked the proverbial mile, they just don't get it. I have several scrapped books that will probably never be printed. That's just life. Keep at it!

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  29. Ha. Great post!
    IWSG #170 ...until Alex culls the list again. :)

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    1. Thanks! I'm trying to get through the whole IWSG list, but I am sooo slow! But I'm heading over to check your out now...since you stopped by mine, it's the neighborly thing to do!

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