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Barf and polish

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Barf and polish

A mechanism for writing where the writing process is split into two phases. During the 'barf' or first phase the writer focuses on putting as many words on the paper (or into the word processor file) as possible. During the 'polish' or second phase, the writer focus on turning the output into cohesive, smooth, and professional product. There are a number of sub-techniques to help improve this technique, see barf and polish. The barf and polish process is compatible with both edit down and edit up. (Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)

This describes the process that I use when I write.

Phases

barf phase

When writing, or pursuing some other creative process, the barf phase (as part of the barf and polish writing process) is the period when the focus is on getting as much of the story (or other "artifact") out without engaging ones critical or editorial faculties. It is followed by the polish phase. -- (Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)

polish phase

When writing, or pursuing some other creative process, the polish phase (as part of the barf and polish writing process) is the period when the focus is on refining the story (or other "artifact") by engaging ones critical and/or editorial faculties. It is preceded by the barf phase. -- (Source: Fritz Freiheit) (e)

Mechanisms to improve this process

  • Keep a list of character names handy, or substitute a standard set of names such as: Andy, Bob, Charles, Dan, etc.
  • Don't edit during the barf phase.
  • Do your editing in a different venue, such as edit hard copy rather in the word processor and thus avoid the temptation to edit while 'barfing'.
  • Use markers for parts that you get stuck on, such as leaving the token {{more}}, {{fix}}, or {{who}} in the text rather than spend time trying to resolve the problem.
  • Keep any and all ideas in a notes file.



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