The 3/4 Mark – May Round Robin

This month’s round robin is open for a bit of interpretation. The main thrust of the question is how you maintain continuity from start to finish in a novel. Which brings me to the title of the post – The 3/4 Mark.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that my personal writing process requires a break in the rough draft that comes about the 3/4 mark. This is the point where I stop writing and I go back and start revising from the start, making little notes along the way.

I know a lot of people will boo and hiss at this, saying I need to get the first draft done and then go back and edit lest I suffocate my creative muse.

However, I’ve found that this process fuels my muse more than hinders it. And to be fair, most of the naysayers are focused on writers who have yet to complete a novel because they continually go back and revise rather than completing a draft.

If you happen to be a writer who falls into this category – don’t do it my way. Finish a draft and then go back and revise. There is nothing like the feeling you get when you finish a book and you owe it to yourself to push through.

Now then, a lot of things happen at the 3/4 Mark Break, which isn’t really a break.

At this point in the book, I have a deeper understanding of the characters and know what the story is really about. This allows me to go through the beginning of the book and edit the character voices, sharpen the focus of each chapter, and move things around.

Which adds to the flow and sense of continuity for the book as a whole.

This also allows me to make notes in the margins, pinpointing subplots that I need to either remove or complete in the last quarter of the novel.

And then, when I go to write that last quarter, my brain has had a nice refresher of the novel as a whole. More often than not, the outlined ending is drastically changed because of this. Which is a GOOD thing because my first draft endings are always horrid.

Take a look at what some of my fellow authors do to keep continuity from start to finish in their works…

Skye Taylor
Marci Baun
Judith Copek
Margaret Fieland
A.J. Maguire (YOU ARE HERE)
Beverley Bateman
Rhobin L Courtright

Anne de Gruchy

6 thoughts on “The 3/4 Mark – May Round Robin

  1. A Shintoist saying is, “There are many mountains to God, and many paths up each mountain.” I’d never, ever argue with someone who has a method that works.
    Personally, my 3/4 mark is everywhere: I add and edit everywhere within a manuscript. In my current wip, have three places looking for inspiration.

  2. Actual, A.J., your method sounds very sensible to me and I often follow the same type of edit practices, but it can happen anytime. I frequently have to go back and reread parts in order to remember exactly what happened or to change something that influences another chapter later in the story. I think persistence might be the key to when and where to edit.

  3. Although I have characters so fully fleshed out before I start writing, there isn’t much I don’t know about them right from the beginning, but they sometimes surprise me anyway. And, although I don’t deliberately chose to write by the 3/4 method, I have found that if I have to move away from my work in progress for more than a day or two, I often come back having lost the emotional connection and need to go back at least a couple chapters and read. The longer I’m away, the further back I have to go. And I do come back refreshed with whole new ideas popping into my head so perhaps I should try your option more deliberately.

  4. Stopping at the 3/4. mark is an interesting theory. I think I have done this a couple of times without realizing it. Whatever gets the job done and the book polished. Whatever we do, it’s always an arduous process with much gnashing of teeth, but it’s fun, too! Nice post

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