I had a spat with my husband yesterday.
When we just started out, we would blast through the first draft as fast as we could and then do extensive rewrites. Now we have some experience, and a curious thing happens: we both know when the scene doesn’t work. Instead of realizing it later, in rewrites, we catch it as we write it.
Unfortunately, we learned to recognize our own crappy writing but not the reason behind it. This creates a rather painful situation, where both of us are growing increasingly displeased with our narrative. But because we are professionals and because we are behind on the deadline, we keep plowing ahead.
“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”Stephen King
See? Stephen King says we have to work. So we work, writing slower and slower, with greater effort for less words, until one of us finally says, “I hate this.”
Yesterday it was me. “I hate this. It’s boring.”
To which Gordon replied, “Since we’re going there, “who spat in his cornflakes” is a dumb sentence anyway.”
So then we went to fold laundry and trying to fix the broken scene. Looks like we are going to be losing about 2K because we somehow manage to artificially murder the tension by a long car drive that the book doesn’t need.
While we are on the subject of writing process, I saw this tweet on Delilah Dawson’s feed.
So, I present to you wisdom from the two giants of the modern genre literature.
I believe the first draft of a book — even a long one — should take no more than three months…Stephen King
Use the doubt, turn it into a positive. The way I’ve done that is to revise and polish one page–ten times, twenty times, whatever–until I am unable to make it flow more smoothly or invest it with more tension. Only then do I move on to the next page.Dean Koontz
I like to get 10 pages a day, which amounts to 2,000 words.Stephen King
On good days, I might wind up with five or six pages of finished work; on bad days, a third of a page.Dean Koontz
How long you let your book rest [after first draft]—sort of like bread dough between kneadings—is entirely up to you, but I think it should be a minimum of six weeks.Stephen King
Because I don’t do a quick first draft and then revise it, I have plenty of time to let the subconscious work; therefore, I am led to surprise after surprise that enriches story and deepens character.Dean Koontz
The moral of this is simple. Write the way that’s comfortable to you and stop worrying about what other people are doing.