Thursday, March 17


by Margie Senechal

During my new chaos project, I've had to shut down my inner editor. It's been quite freeing, actually.

I'm the type of writer who generally writes a few chapters, edits a few chapters, writes a few more, edits a few more...and since Bix ended, this process hasn't been working for me. I haven't finished a manuscript in months--years :(

So, this time around, I'm trying to save the editing until I've typed THE END. I'm using post-its to remind myself of things I might need to fix or research--depending on the project.

In my YA WIP, Nobody Number Nine, there are ten separate viewpoint characters--ten voices. But, instead of trying to get their voices down now, I'm just getting the story out. And when I go back, I'll tweak their styles and rhythms. And my post-its will help be refine them.

Yesterday, on The Sister, I began a scene that may or may not go into the book. But as a writer, I needed to know how the main character, Annie, found out her identical twin, Sasha, had died/been killed/committed a terrorist suicide.

I think the scene will probably end up as a flashback, but it doesn't matter, because it moved the story ahead in my mind and helped me understand Annie a little bit more.

This new style doesn't come naturally to me. I have to literally stop myself from flipping back pages to make changes on them or tell myself to keep going. I've always written pretty clean "first drafts". Probably because they aren't true first drafts, they're more like fourth drafts by the time I let anyone read them.

Like La Nora, I also write pretty lean first drafts. I can't imagine how lean these will be without constant tweaking. But, like she says, I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank page.


  1. that's the best advice ever - you can't fix a blank page!! Keep pushing, Margie...Love your idea about using post-its to remind you what needs to be changed/enhanced/whatever because, invariably, I have a brainstorm about a chapter and before I can get the edits in, I've forgotten it. So I'm using your post-it idea. :D Sounds like you're making good progress (even if it feels weird).

  2. Wow, good luck with this. I'm a tweaker from way back and even though I know it slows me down (even more!) I don't think I can give it up. I hope it works for you.

    1. I have made small changes, I'm not going to lie. But, as far as big ones--like all ten voices have to be distinct??--I'm letting those go until the rewrite.

  3. The inner editor has never been a big problem with me--not that I don't have other problems! When I'm working on a first draft I tend to go back at the beginning of every writing session and skim over what I wrote the day before, making changes along the way, so my "first" drafts are also pretty clean. I won NaNoWriMo one year by not doing that, but I hated the results.

    1. This experiment may end up a total bust-or I may change it all tomorrow. Who knows, but I'm trying to find a way to be a more productive writer who finishes something in less than three years. LOL