Thursday, December 17, 2009

Writing Fast

by Dave White

When I sat down to write the book I'm working on, I had a great idea.

Write fast and revise a little.

I outlined. I banged away at the keyboard every day 1,000 words. I finished the book. I had someone else read it. I took feedback. I revised.

And now, more than a year later... I'm still revising it.

And with good reason.

The book, that I worked really hard on, that I slaved away at... Just. Wasn't. Good.


But I'm working at it.. and now it's almost done. I think one more round of major plot changing revisions (but not too much) and then some cleaning up... And the book'll be ready.

But I had to learn that. I had to learn that I am not a good writer when I'm writing fast. I can't just barrel my way through a story, dust it up and hand it in. I have to wring my hands over it. I have to think about each and every character and each and every motivation.

I have to write and outline and write and outline some more and then write and character sketch.

And, yes, there are days... weeks, where I just want to put my head through a glass window.

But I realize why I have to do it. I don't want to put out any old thing just to have a book out there.

I want to put out a damn good book.

And I can't do that writing fast. I just can't.

It's taken me two years to come to terms with that. I wrote WHEN ONE MAN DIES in 2 and a half years. And the revisions on that book put it through the wringer. I wrote THE EVIL THAT MEN DO in about 9 months, but it was constant work because I was on deadline. I am always writing and re-writing.

But I want this book to be the best thing I've ever written. And I want my fourth to be the best thing I've ever written.

And sometimes you get a note from your agent that puts a smile on your face... and even that keeps you going. Like this one, from my agent: "Writing's a big steaming jobby, isn't it? You're almost there, pal."

So, if you're a writer, and you're out there struggling with something that's taking FOREVER... take a deep breath... and keep going. You'll get there.

You gotta want it. You gotta want to finish...

But keep working and eventually the end will be in sight.

I hope.


David Barber said...

Great post, Dave with some great advice. Thanks for putting that up.
All the best, David.

Graham Powell said...

But I want this book to be the best thing I've ever written.

A goal that should be easy to accomplish.

Neue Ziel said...

Yeah. I know the feeling. I've been stuck with the conclusion of a two-part "short" for quite a while now... And, in all honesty, I don't quite see the end of the road.

Trust me, I've typed. Furiously.

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Hey Dave, I'm with you. I want everything to be the best thing that I've ever written...and when I'm writing I have to ignore the Devil on my shoulder telling me that it's not. You just reminded me that everyone goes through this at a time when I needed to be reminded. Thanks:)