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Saturday, 23 April 2011

T: Tweaking

 I was chatting with well known Sci Fi Author, Alistair Reynolds, about writing and I admitted that I cannot stop tweaking my MS every time I go back to it.

He agreed that this was something I should try very hard to stop doing because it's a good way to make your writing ground to a halt before you've even finished the first draft, so write down everything about the story and only start tweaking when the first draft is written.

Oh and if you have a QUESTION to ask Alistair Reynolds about writing post a comment below and he'll do a blog interview for us.

Are you disciplined about your writing or are you tempted to make it even better every step of the way?

Here's Talli Roland's take on it:

REMEMBER if you have a QUESTION to ask Alistair Reynolds about writing post a comment below and he'll do a blog interview for us.


  1. I agree that tweaking is bad when you're not even done with your first draft, but I also think it can be bad later on when you're revising, too. My current revisions have involved major plot-reworks, shuffling of scenes, etc., and even adding new scenes. I haven't been so worried about the 'tweak' side of things, since the plot itself has been the most important priority. and yet instead of getting on with my major revisions sometimes I do find myself tweaking early stuff that is pretty much good to go in terms of plot, while there are still plot issues elsewhere I have yet to deal with. :P It's easy to get caught up in the tweaking, for sure!

  2. Yep, I always push myself to get to the end first. It is tempting though.

    Moody Writing

  3. I'm tweaker, too :-) I only write short stories, but always have to bear in mind Della Galton's advice not to stress over that first para, until the story is down on paper. As she says, it's all too easy to spend hours on the opening, and then lose our way with the rest of it!
    Great T post - and thanks for the timely tweaking reminder
    All best, Karla

  4. I'd never heard of that publisher, really interesting video. And she seems so nice!

  5. I was bad at tweaking, but learned if I don't like a plot line I write on as if I had changed it.
    Good post
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

  6. I can never do enough tweaking. I think I over-tweak but then it can't be readable if I'm still tweaking! Well that;s how I see it!!

    Yay for Tweaking and tremendous Talli!!!! Take care

  7. Usually when I have writer's block (or let's face it I'm procrastinating), I've been known to tweak my novel.

  8. Holy cow -- Reynolds is one of my favorite SF writers! I just read The Prefect last year and loved it. But as for editing as I go... I used to have a bad habit of doing that. I've since started "vomiting" my first drafts onto the paper/screen to be cleaned up at a later date. It's messy, but it helps me finish stories. My question for Mr. Reynolds: How do you know when a story is finished?

  9. Hi Madeleine .. great to have Talli's video here .. T for Tweaking .. never fiddle faff around too much .. but we must edit .. not to say I'm perfect at that ..

    Hope you're out enjoying the summer sun .. it's glorious .. cheers Hilary

  10. I'm a MAJOR tweaker. I keep going back and making changes. I consider it an extensive revision.

  11. Aha, lots of tweakers here I see

    Thanks Milo for starting the question ball rolling.

    More please :O)

  12. Um, I'm not that disciplined... Every time I go back to continue with my first draft I pretty much always TWEAK something before continuing!

  13. I usually end up tweaking a bit as well--I don't get into real edits, but if, for example, I'm scrolling down to where I stopped the day before and spot something wrong I'll change it.

  14. I actually just posted about this very subject on Thursday - I definitely am a tweak-as-you-go type of person, and I decided to curb the habit by noting down the changes I want to make and then carrying on with the draft. I knew I wasn't the only one! Lol... ;-)

  15. I'm a lot more disciplined than I used to be. I used to love going back and tweaking before I've finished the first draft. I learnt quickly that it only wastes time because so often I'll have to rewrite a tweaked scene or delete it altogether anyway.

  16. A fascinating post, especially Talli's piece.

    I will write the entire first draft of a short story in one go and then usually go through three or four drafts until I'm happy with it. I found Talli's comments fascinating because I shall be having 12 weeks off later this year and if I can follow her example, I could finish one of my WIPS!

    I'm off to visit Alistair's website to think up some questions.

    Ellie Garratt


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Comments based on others' comments can lead to misunderstandings that spread like whispers!