I write stuff for kids...and muse on writing, children's books, and the publishing industry in general

Monday, April 4, 2011

My A-Z of Writing Tips: Control

(Source)
A short and sweet tip today: exercise control over your writing.

In your first draft, let your words run free on the paper, spilling from your imagination to the page with no internal editing whatsoever.

But in your revisions, wheel your sentences, your paragraphs, and your chapters right back. Cut unnecessary words. Be clear, concise, and in control. Make sure every word has a purpose, and in doing so, you'll have a tighter final product which still shines with that special magic only you can bring.

How about you: is it important for you to exercise control over your writing? Is this something you try to achieve during your revisions?

34 comments:

Cheree said...

I try to achieve it during revisions. But, I have no control over the first draft. I just write what words decide to come out.

Trisha said...

I'm in the middle of revisions right now, and I'm taking great delight in cutting unnecessary words.

mooderino said...

Definitely, wrangling control of the darned thing is most of the battle.
Mood

Louise said...

Anything goes in the first and even the second draft. I've noticed I use "seemingly" a lot.

Charmaine Clancy said...

I agree, brevity is power :)

Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

Laura Pauling said...

Def. important but I always have to add do my writing. Sop I encourage myself to lose control b/c I'm an underwriter.

damyantiwrites said...

Re-writing is all about control. It is the difference between screeching and singing:)

damyantiwrites said...

Re-writing is all about control. It is the difference between screeching and singing:)

Jessica Bell said...

I certainly do. If I didn't have control my writing would be a blubbering mess -- like the way I speak! ;o)

Kari Marie said...

Control is mostly achieved in revision for me. I try not to think too much when writing the first draft!

Vicki Tremper said...

For me, writing a first draft is such a compulsive thing that I don't need to rein in my editor brain at all.

Thanks for the tips!

Sylvia Ney said...

Great reminder!

Heidi Windmiller said...

It is hard for me to let myself run rampant in the first draft. But I've been getting better at it.

i have a writing friend who always tells me that writing a rough draft is like running though church naked, and it isn't until you start editing that you put on your Sunday best.

Budd said...

I tend to slow myself down with control as I write. May stem from not wanting to edit.

Sue H said...

I have moments when I'm very controling aout what I write, going back to re-phrase from time to time. Other times I just 'go for it' and my fingers type away trying to keep up with my brain....!

Curiously, when it comes to re-writes, I often find that there's very little that needs changing in the 'free-style' output!!!

SueH I refuse to go quietly!

Name: Luana Krause said...

I start out in control and eventually lose it. A good thing.

Name: Luana Krause said...

I start out in control and eventually lose it. A good thing.

Eliza said...

At the moment I'm just staring at the page. There are no words to edit :-(

Nikki said...

I'm having the problem of letting go of control. I need to relax and just let it flow.

Raising Marshmallows

Misha said...

I'm starting to be more controlling because my rewrite has to be an improvement on my first draft, but I let my mind go off on tangents as long as the tangent has a curve somewhere that brings it back to the story. ;-)

Zan Marie said...

My challenge is not to control too much on the first go. I can choke my voice so easily.

R.S.J. said...

Oh to let it flow during the first draft. Hard thing for me. I need to control my need to go back and edit.

lbdiamond said...

Sometimes I'm too controlling and then I hit a road block...I have to let go in order to get the words flowing again.

Nice post!

Ishta Mercurio said...

Oh, yes - control in revisions is a must. But I find that a certain amount of control is necessary in drafting, too - at least for me! Otherwise, I can lose sight of where I'm going and end up with a mess.

Siv Maria said...

I have a hard enough time controling my life let alone my writing. Always been my problem, words control me, I just happen to be the one spitting them out :)Looking forward to stalking you. Don't worry I am not dangerous.

Ella said...

Control is key; Well said~ I have to work on that, I tend to ramble in life and writing. :D

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

If anything, I have to learn to let go of control to write the first draft. It's a lot easier to do so for NaNoWriMo than for the rest of the year!

K.C. Woolf said...

Control: a tough thing to let go ...

Gail M Baugniet said...

The word "control" is a popular choice for C day. I agree that the first draft should spill out without editing or it'll never make it to "the end."
Control comes later ... always.

Alleged Author said...

I usually write what I feel in the beginning because I have to get it out on the page! Then, after I've let it sit a while, I go back and see what crud managed to turn up on the page. LOL!

Michelle Mach said...

I definitely exercise more control in my revisions. I've learned the hard way about trying to reign in a piece too early.

By the way, I saw in your sidebar you normally blog Tuesdays & Fridays. Me, too! You're the first blogger I've ever seen on the same schedule!

Madeline Bartos said...

Awesome advice! I'm in the middle of writing a first draft for a new project, and I'm letting all my words out. After I get control of the story, I'll get control of the words. Being a crazy person, I need to take it one step at a time. ;)

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Great advice! And refreshing, since many used "C" for character. Control is very important. Thanks for the tip.

Adeeva Afsheen said...


Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)

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