Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Slow It Down!

So I have a confession to make. I like to write FAST. Yep, I'm a fast drafter. Sit down and type everything in one swift motion. I suppose it goes back to the fact that if I had to choose between walking everywhere or running I would definitely choose running.

I absolutely love to run. I can get where I want to go in half the time. Think of all the things you could get accomplished if you ran everywhere!

But many of you would say, walking allows you to see the details in life. The little things that make the world special. 

You're right of course, even if it's hard to let go of that feeling of the wind in my face and the runner's rush. Besides, my boss wouldn't look too fondly on me running through the halls with my students in tow.  (Confession: my students do scamper behind my clipped pace through the hallways)

I'm happy to sit at the computer and not worry over the five million mistakes I'm making, those huge plot holes, or all of my character's inconsistencies. You could say I'm the perfect fast drafter.

And I bet you can guess that I'm not the perfect reviser. I'm trying though and thanks to my critique partners who keep saying, "Dig deeper!" "You have grammar and spelling errors!" and "Plot hole!", I'm realizing how to become a better reviser. They even offered to read the whole book again after I revised it. Now that's pure dedication. (I heart my crit buds.) 

So I'm slowing things down. I don't have to finish the novel in exactly 42 days. And it's okay if I have to rewrite a scene (36 times). I've also found that when I take things slower I'm noticing those missing words or odd phrasing. My latest novel is reaching a whole new level because of those details.

If you're like me, make yourself some agreements:
  • Promise to not go fast drafting a new project until you know your current book is as good as you can possibly get it to be
  • Give your book long breaks and then pick it up and revise it some more
  • Listen to your brilliant critique partners (if you don't have any, get some!)
  • Learn to see your story through the eyes of others

And you can only do all of that if you slow it down.


Casey McCormick said...

Great post, Christy! I think there's a good argument for both fastdrafting and slowdrafting and I can't decide which is more beneficial. It's all part of finding one's personal process, I suppose. I'm certainly learning a lot from slowing down and really thinking about each choice I make. I'll slow down with you. Here's to getting it RIGHT!

Christine Fonseca said...

Great post - personally, I ned to shut down that internal editor a bit more on that first draft. And yes...let's get it right!

Kimbra Kasch said...

Love the tips - thanks for sharing.

Andrea Mack said...

Christy, I've always admired how you can get so much done! My drafts come very slowly and I'm making an effort to write faster and not worry so much about the details. But it would be so nice for the first draft to be in better shape..I hope that's something that develops with experience.

Bish Denham said...

Boy Christy, right up my alley! You go girl. I'm not too good at revising myself, but I'm determined to learn how to enjoy it.

Rena Jones said...

Great advice. I keep re-reading my current story after letting it sit for weeks and I still find things that I overlooked or weren't caught by spellcheck. It really helps to let stuff sit.

Good luck revising!

Marcia said...

I'm SLOW. I'd like to figure out how to not be at one of the extreme ends and tap the advantages of each style a little more.

Anonymous said...

I used to be fast and I've slowed things down with my writing. I used to query to agents prematurely in a rush to be published. Putting away the manuscript and taking it out later to revise really helps.