Tuesday, November 9, 2010

3 Reasons Why Your Internal Editor Rocks

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 post! I'm an edit-as-I-go writer because my internal editor is such a loud mouth. I'm doing Nano in order to try to quiet it a bit just because the IE can slow me down tremendously when I draft. However, I also refuse to write words just for the sake of word count.

    So the method I find is working for me so far is that I'm writing and not worry so much about finding the perfect word for each thing. For instance, if I know my characters have been shrugging a lot, normally I'd sit there and try to figure out something else before moving forward. But now, I'm just making a note in my head--okay, on revision, I'll go back and make sure I flesh out these "placeholders" a bit more and I keep writing. Same goes for describing settings just write.

    However, if I find that I need to change something major in a plot thread (which has happened once already), I am going back and fixing that because it affects the rest of the story. (Which I know is against Nano rules, but ;p on rules.) It's working for me so far. We'll see how I feel as the month goes on, lol.

  2. The more I write, the more the internal editor comes to "help."

    I've now taken to outlining--I figure the plot editor needs some face time & what better way to give the plot editor the reins than to let them work out plot kinks. (The benefit of this is that I won't have to work them out later, once the novel is written. I hope.)

    Nice post! :D

  3. I'm more of a pantser when it comes to my writing, but that darned I.E. is RIGHT THERE to make sure I'm getting it right. I tried NaNo to help force him (women aren't nearly as demanding;-) into the closet, but it didn't work.

  4. This makes me feel slightly better about not being able to turn the IE off! Thanks, Amparo! But it's no excuse for me not getting my wordage done... *Skulks off the corner of shame*

    You are right, though. If you don't edit a little along the way, you could end up taking the story in a totally wrong direction. That would be a mess to clean up later. You'd have to rewrite the whole book anyway! Not. Worth. It.

    I'll be keeping this in mind as I attempt to catch up on Nano tonight. :) *hugs and kisses for an awesome CP*

  5. My IE screamed at me constantly while I was drafting. Sometimes I listened, sometimes I shoved her in the closet. Anyway, I probably should have listened more because I'm having to make huge changes to my ms now.

  6. I shut the door. Because my IE wants too much control!

  7. I've tried to shut the inner editor off, but my I.E will not be silenced. Sometimes it runs away and hides and I type crazy stuff, but it comes back on the re-read.

  8. It rocks yes but also has to keep it too a minimum during the first draft. I NEED to get those words down FIRST. Then i can re-write the whole @$#^$ing thing ;p


  9. My I.E. is in eternal battle with My Muse whenever I write!! One says, embrace the blank page and just fill it with beautiful words. The other gets a big ruler and slaps my hand when I try to do just that!

    Bless their little hearts!!!

    Take care

  10. Balance is the key. Don't let the editor turn off your creativity.

    My first novel had no internal editor. The three sequels had a bit more (I'd learnt more), but my latest WIP had a lot of input from my now-much-more-knowledgable inner editor, but it felt a little stilted after the first draft. I'll wait till I see the results before deciding how much power I'll give her next time.

    I think it saves time to have it switched on.

    You can check out where I'm up to in this game and read ch 1 of my YA fantasy on my blogsite

  11. My IE is obnoxious at times and disappears from sight sometimes. Fickle I guess. :) The more I write the better control I have.

  12. That door is closed while drafting and opened after I write the first "the end."

  13. I try to shut up my internal editor during the first draft, but that sucker is persistant! I am getting better and it's amazing how much more I get accomplished when I ignore it and write!

    One thing that does help is making a note of specific words or actions that I might be seeing a lot of or if there's a description that's not quite right. I jot myself a reminder in my notebook and go back to it during revisions.

  14. Yeah, I do. GREAT stuff over here! In order to get back into my WIP when I open it, I usually read the last two chapters to establish that frame-of-mind--and that's when IE get me, every time!