Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Scooping the Gloop

We talked about Coughing up Wordballs yesterday so I thought we'd keep with the cat theme. Scooping the Gloop. This happens during rewrites (for me). The hardest thing for me to do is to write straight through. If I allow myself to Scoop as much as I want to, I can spend an entire week on a page. Not a chapter. A page. I can edit and edit and edit some more. Lately, I've been better at writing through. The March Mini NaNo that I participated in really helped with that. When you write straight through, though, even with an outline, you still have to scoop some of that gloop.

What is gloop, you ask. Gloop varies in everyone's writing. I define gloop as all that unnecessary stuff that ends up in that first draft. The the overly flowery description, the same words used over and over again, the overkill. For example, in this last rewrite I used no less than 2 "tiny"s, 2 "little"s and 3 "small"s on the SAME page. Yep. I admit it. In my rush to describe the scene, not only did I get overly flowery, I was dropping adjectives like they were pez. Flipping them out on the page. One of the writers in my critique group caught it and underlined each one. I owe her big. GLOOP. I scooped all but one. It's all about cleaning it up.

Fortunately, manuscripts are not litterboxes. We can allow them to sit so that the gloop really gloops together. It makes it easier to spot and easier to scoop. It's so nice to go back through and get rid of that extra...words, sentences, chapters. If only I felt such joy when it comes to the litterbox. Luckily, I have the Hubster for that. When it comes to my MS, though, it's all up to M-E. Tiny, little, small me.

When do you Scoop the Gloop? Do you edit as you go along? Or tackle it all in the rewrites? What's your idea of Gloop?


  1. I do edit as I go along-but in theory, I would rather throw it ALL down and then come back for revisions.
    Otherwise I take too long going over the same pages again and again.
    This was just what I was thinking/blogging about myself.

  2. I actually have a habit of just getting the story out, and then I have to go back and add more details and then go back and edit and add more details. I run through the story several times after it's complete for editing/revision.

  3. I'm like you, I can't edit as I go or I get nowhere. But I love love love to pump out the story, its my favorite part about writing so far, just getting it down and seeing where it goes and what mischief comes around. But editing, I want to smother myself in a pillow going back through and sifting out my blocks of words I used 50x on one page and sentences that mean nothing now that I have let it sit for a few days. It irks me.

  4. Well, let's try this for a second time. Blogger hates me.

    You're right, Jennie. Writing is a messy endeavor. Also it's like a Mexican bus ride, full of unexpected stops and bumps, going who knows where.

    You must use the editing method that works for you. Still, if you let too much prose pile up before editing, the chore will be enormous and thus, have you postpone it for the sheer magnitude of it.

    Doing it by chapter works for me. But then I'm unagented and unpublished -- how much can I know?

    You have a delightful blog. I added to your followers by one. Every one counts, right? Roland

  5. I edit as I go, then after I'm all finished, i edit some more and then some more and then some more. A lot of editing. Love the analogy of the gloop because that's exactly what it's like. :)

  6. David - great blogging minds think alike I guess! I can hardly wait to pop over to your blog and read your take on it!

    Jenn - That seems to work best for me as well. I think adding the details is part of what makes the rewriting fun!

    C.E. - We seem to be a lot alike! What's funny is that you don't notice using that word 50x. It seems brand new every few sentences when you throw it in there, doesn't it? And then after...Arrrggghhh!

    Roland - I was so excited to see that I was up to 54! Every person counts. I'm glad you like my blog! Welcome!

    Angie - Can you limit your editing as you go? Or do you allow yourself as much time to edit as you go? Gloop is certainly what it feels like when you're diving into it!

  7. I do the same thing! Sometimes I can't get through a paragraph, grrrr. The writing through is tough, but better I think. And then edit/tweak/rewrite/whatever when I have about twenty or thirty pages...

    I love the analogy and the cat theme, btw. Fun!

  8. I tend to write during the week and edit on the wknds. I tend to overuse odd words like "sidle". In my last manuscript I used sidle nine times! Gloop that needs scrooping!

  9. Hey Jen - yep I sent it to that email address. I'll try sending it again. Sorry I didn't double check yesterday that you had gotten it - you were probably wondering what the heck is going on. I have had problems with my email lately, but usually I get a message if the mail doesn't go through. If you don't get it yet tonight, send me an email at adktd2bks@yahoo.com

    As for my editing - I usually do a couple chapters just writing whatever comes to mind. The next day I'll re-read that and edit a bit before going on to the next two chapters and so on. It's not heavy editing, just smoothing out the wrinkles. The heavy editing comes after it's all done.

  10. I'm learning not to edit as I go, because I just get stuck and discouraged. So I write everything out first and then go back and edit. =)

  11. I don't edit at all during a first draft. It's all gloop, and I leave it there. If I pick it up, I run the risk of losing my momentum and not finishing my story (this has happens more times than I can count). So the gloop stays there and festers and stinks up the place. It all gets cleaned up nicely in revisions... hopefully.

  12. I tackle it all in the rewrite, otherwise I'd spend weeks on each chapter.