Writing Too Fast?

I was talking with a friend about writing speed. I write pretty fast, considering, and she writes full time and devotes a lot of time to it.

But we were talking - is our speed hurting us? Are we so anxious to follow up on opportunities that we're not spending enough time to develop our stories? I know that was my problem with Beneath the Surface. I don't believe it was with Hot Shot. And I'm determined it won't be the problem with Don't Look Back.

In the past, my problem has been the urgency to get to the next story, a boredom with the old story. Recently it's been outside pressure, like wanting to enter something in the GH or an unexpected request. But I do think my eagerness to submit/contest something has hurt my writing. I don't take enough time going over the story, making sure it's the best it can be.

One thing I'm doing with DLB is after I finally get all the scenes connected in the right order, I'm going to revise the back half for cohesion and emotion. Then I'm going to take it scene by scene and flesh it out for sensory stuff, which is a weakness of mine.

Now, if I only had 30 hours in the day.

Look, Photobucket is working again!

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Anonymous said...

Good question, Mary. Although I don't think it's a bad thing to be able to write quickly. I guess the problem with that, as you've astutely mentioned, is then taking the time to pour over the manuscript once the draft is done, but sounds like you have a great handle on that :)

Alas there never seem to be enough hours in the day, does there? :( But I'm sure plenty o' people will be thrilled that the Gerard picks are back up and running . . .

Unknown said...

I don't think writing fast is a problem. I know it's one I don't have. I'm pretty slow I think. One thing I worry about is do I over extend myself. I have three different stories all in different stages that I want to get out there. One is the follow up on the one coming out in April. One is requested partial and the other is entered into a contest. I feel the heat from all three.

Anonymous said...

Some of my best work came when I was under the gun...I wrote 130 pages in five days to make a submission. That's the book that sold, too, even if not to that particular publisher. But I spent hours and hours after I finished, reading the book backwards and forwards at least four times, making sure, fixing, fixing. Speed works if you take the time to deeply fine tune it afterward. And I think you do that already, Mar.

Gerard has come home, at last. Thank goodness. Sighhh.


MicheleKS said...

I think you have to find a pace your comfortable at. For me, sometimes I pound out the pages and other times it's a struggle just to fill one. But we're all given the same number of hours every day. How we use them is up to us.

And glad to hear Photobucket released Gerrry. If they hadn't, we would have had to start a Free Gerry campaign.

Toni Anderson said...

Wish I wrote faster!! Sometimes speed isn't the problem, it is just getting it 'right' and that can take a moment or a lifetime.

April said...

I've heard a lot fo bestselling authors say they write fast. I think everyone just processes differently.

Thanks for sharing Gerard :-)

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

You have to write at the pace that suits you. I've written as many as 30 pages a day if the story is flowing. Remember Nora writes how many books a year? My problem is always the revising. Once I've written a story, I want to move onto the next story. I need more patience for the revision process.

Anonymous said...

I don't think writing too fast has ever been a problem for me, but I've certainly sent things out before they were ready to be seen. I got over that, but only on this last book, which I recognized as the one that was most likely to sell, so I didn't want to waste any chances. The real test is when a publisher says, "Can you have the next book ready in six months?" and you have to say, "No. It won't be good in six months. You can have it in nine." Because it's common to see authors' second and third books that could have used more work. Their publishers aren't looking at the long-term view, probably because there's no guarantee that they'll be with the same deparment or even the same house in a year.

Nikki said...

I agree with EKM -- you have to write at the speed that best suits you.

I'm a fast writer too, but it comes with a price. I need to plot in order to write fast. No plot? No writing...

Whatever works for you...

And SO glad to see Photobucket working again. I'm not a huge Gerry fan, but I was worried for you there... :)

MJFredrick said...

I think writing quickly can help you stay in the story, make it tighter.

Tess, I'd go nuts with 3 stories in different stages. I have 3 pretty much in the same stage, and that's making me crazy.

JoAnn, I remember that burst of speed there. Yow. I bet your keyboard is still smoking.

Michele, I know what you mean about sometimes the pages flying by, and others going sooooo slow, looks like the page counter will never click over. LOL on the Free Gerry campaign. gerardbutler.net has a preview of Beowulf.

Elizabeth, 30 pages in a day? Eeek! I did 26 once. Once. And Nora - that girl has discipline. 8 hours a day and THEN she cooks supper. That's so wrong.

Esri, you've hit the nail on the head - editors move, and if we don't meet those opportunities asap, we could lose them. That said, my friend Robyn swears that the biggest problem in publishing is the rush to submit somethign before it's ready. I confess to being such a one.

Stacy Dawn said...

Ugh, I know. Each person's style and work habit is different but its the 'learning what works for you' bit that I think is the biggest learning curve...we try so many different ways to write until we end up with our own unique mixture...my first and foremost rule though is still...go with your gut, go with what feels right to you.


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