March 7th, 2011 by Carrie Vaughn
Sloppy Writing

(This is adapted from a post I did on my own blog last month.)

Something I thought about a lot on this last revision (Kitty 10) is how sloppy my writing was.  How sloppy my writing is still, even after 20 years of working at writing.  It may even be more sloppy now than it was, say, six or seven years ago when I trying to sell my first novel.  I kept correcting things that I knew were wrong, grammatically incorrect, vague, and confusing, and I kicked myself for not catching them on the first draft, because I really do know better.

However, I think this is subjective.  All in my own perception and not really  objectively true at all.  It’s impossible for me to tell (unless I went to dig up some old rough drafts, which I don’t really feel like doing).  I came up with two possibilities:

  1. Yes, my writing is actually sloppier because I’m writing the first drafts faster, because of deadlines and scheduling and so forth.  First drafts don’t matter if I can catch the problems on the revision, so I really shouldn’t worry.
  2. My writing isn’t any sloppier than it used to be, but as time has passed and I’ve gotten (I hope) better, I’m actually much more sensitive to sloppiness and mistakes than I used to be.  I’m actually catching more sloppiness, fixing more mistakes, and (I hope) getting better at this.

As with most things, it’s probably a combination of the two.  But sometimes, it feels a bit like whack-a-mole — for every problem I fix, two more seem to creep in to take its place.

To think, there was a time when I thought this would get easier. . .

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3 comments to “Sloppy Writing”

  1. Sasha White
     · March 7th, 2011 at 6:02 pm · Link

    I’m wondering if you’ve noticed a difference in the flow or ‘magic’ now that you’re writing your first drafts faster? I find when I write real fast, paying no attention to self-editing, it feels more like the characters taking over than me telling their story…if that makes any sense?

  2. Charlene Teglia
     · March 7th, 2011 at 8:31 pm · Link

    So true. As I play my own game of whack-a-mole. 😆

  3. Carrie Vaughn
     · March 8th, 2011 at 12:24 pm · Link

    I actually haven’t noticed a difference in the “flow.” I write fast pretty naturally, and I’ve always been lucky enough to have a sense of the story taking over.

    But I do feel like I notice different things, or more, or more detail, in the rewriting now.

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