If you've been reading my weekly progress reports, you know I've been trying to finish the rough draft of my YA mystery, the Cottage, by the end of November. Usually I like to get started on a rough draft and just plow through till it's finished, but over the weekend I decided to switch gears. I'm going to apply for a local writers retreat, and I'd like to use The Cottage for the retreat. So I'm now working on editing the first twenty pages before I've finished the rough draft. This is the first time I've ever edited a draft that wasn't finished.
Of all the stages of writing a novel - outlining, writing the rough draft, editing, querying - editing is my favorite. I love writing the rough draft, too, but I don't edit at all as I go, so when I'm done I'm left with a big, ugly mess. It's a necessary step in my process, but a little discouraging, too. I seriously start to wonder why I think I can write in the first place. Then I start editing, and slowly but surely everything falls into place (usually!)
So I guess I won't be finishing my rough draft in November, but hopefully I'll return to it with renewed enthusiasm and inspiration in December.
Do you edit as you go along, or keep the rough drafting and the editing completely separate? And have you ever attended a writers retreat?