Monday, May 2, 2011

Snail's Pace

I am an incredibly slow writer. Well, sort of.

My first draft tends to fly out. I’m a fast typer and I can churn out 10 pages in 30 minutes, counting the few pauses while my brain freezes trying to find a specific word. Yet in all, a chapter or section is created in record time, sort of like a volcanic explosion.

Then comes the glacial period.

Initially, I usually find that I’m happy with maybe 60% of my first draft. As I read (and reread) (and reread again and again), the changes I make are seldom to the core of the plot or characters. It’s all about the words. Getting the tone just the way I want.

Later, after a break, I begin to deconstruct the story itself. I start rethinking some of the characters and how they act/react. It’s here that I begin to rip apart sections of whatever I’ve written, trying to get to the heart.

Finally, I find myself recreating it all over again. Taking a new angle. Trying to remove all the clichés and forced dialogue and obvious set-ups. It’s basically a mash up of my original idea. At times, it’s not even recognizable as the original story, except for maybe a key scene that was the purpose of this entire effort anyway.

Taken all together, I can spent hours and weeks and months on something. I’m definitely one of those writers who feels no story is ever finished. There will always be something to change or improve.

In many ways, this is depressing. The constant toil at something which never ends. Yeah, feeling a bit hopeless right now. And I haven’t even written the first word of this damn novel.

Ah, don’t worry. I always get like this when I write.

1 comment:

  1. Editing for me is an absolute nightmare. I think that's the reason why - just days before I wanted to turn in the first real draft of my thesis - I decided to restructure and redo pretty much the whole thing. I couldn't stand it. I couldn't find the right words/phrases to replace what I had already written - my own sentences coming back to haunt me. So starting new is what I did, and I think it worked. I just hope I don't feel the urge to redo the whole thing again before I turn in my final draft.
    Must. Resist. *sigh*