Friday, May 18, 2007

Writer's hours

Writing is rewriting.
--Ernest Hemingway

In the past I have deluded myself into thinking that I'll have more free time when revising a book than when I'm writing it.

As I said, 'deluded.'

When writing a first draft, I work about four hours a day. This is plenty of time to get down 2000 words. If I try to produce much more than that on a regular basis, I burn out. Writing a novel is like running a marathon (several of which I've...seen on TV). At the end, you push yourself, ignore the pain, and focus on the finish line. Then you collapse. But you can't run the whole race that way.

Anyway, first draft, four hours a day, with the rest of the time devoted to polishing the previous day's prose, doing research, having a life, and taking care of business items.

Revisions, on the other hand:

When I did the gut-clenching, mind-warping, but ultimately successful rewrite for Voice of Crow, I worked 10, 12, sometimes 14 hours a day. Inexplicably, I have a lot more stamina for revisions than first-draft writing. Which is odd, when you consider that much of that revision involved writing brand-new material.

I can foresee this happening with Wicked Game as well. Which is my weaselly way of saying I probably won't be blogging much for the next four weeks.

I will, however, be having lots of fun.

A-Z Update: "Headful of Ghosts" by Bush

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Hmm, do you think something's wrong if I don't rewrite? LOL

My first draft tends to be my final one. But it also takes me sometimes an hour to write one friggin' sentence.

Posted by: Blogger Vivi Anna at 5/18/2007 3:14 PM

Vivi, I think it's knowing in the back of my head that I'm going to revise/rewrite that gives me permission to write fast. It's kind of like making a huge mess when I'm cooking, knowing that I can clean it up later.

I've been astonished just how different my final drafts are from my first drafts. Sometimes the entire plot gets overhauled, or the characters change, or the ending changes. If I felt like I had to get it right the first time, I'd be paralyzed.

But everyone has their own process, and whatever works for you, well, works for you. That might be the only truism in writing.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 5/19/2007 8:48 AM

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