27 Jul

Today, Week Four begins.  Between the thunderstorm and my too-comfortable pillow, I’m off to a late start this morning!

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of last week while I was experiencing it.  

Have you ever had one of those weeks where you’re constantly working, but don’t feel like you’ve gotten very far?  That was my week, last week.  I spent a lot of time on my novel, but wasn’t quite sure how to judge my progress.  

The first draft came so quickly, and I judged my progress by my sky-rocketing word count. (Well, sky-rocketing on some days.  Kite-high, on others.)  I’d end the day with pages commensurate with my time spent, and I’d feel über-productive.

Progress is not so easily measured this time around.  You’d think that with knowledge of where the story needs to go, it would get written quicker – not so.  Writing better takes more time.  It takes more focus, more concentration.  It means making sure action, dialogue, and motivation are all fitting for my characters.  It means becoming a scene wizard, where I accomplish a few layers of things at one time.  And, it means condensing paragraphs of unnecessary, empty words into a few meaningful, accurate sentences.  

In short: lower word count, more time spent.  A paradigm shift in the definition of productivity.  

Friday morning, I typed the final line of a particularly difficult chapter.  Everything clicked.  The scene felt like it came together in just the right way, layered and not too in-your-face.  Suddenly, all those hours of fastidious focus exploded into this exciting sense of satisfaction.  No questions, anymore – it was, without a doubt, a productive week.

I might feel like a snail, but I’m finding the payoffs are higher with this draft.  Well-written scenes trump quickly-scribbled ones, for sure.  

PS: Thank you all for your feedback on my last few posts.  I’m loving the privilege of reading your stories, what drives you, and your thoughts on things.  Your blogs are fun to read, too.  So, thanks again.

4 Responses to “Snailwriter.”

  1. Laura Best Monday / 27 July 09 at 5:41 pm #

    I love it when a story comes together, when you reach that place where you are truly satisfied with a particular chapter or scene. I sometimes enjoy making cuts, tightening my writing, and getting rid of unnecessary words. It’s challenging but feels very rewarding. Some stories are churned out rather quickly other times it goes, as you say, at a snail’s pace.

  2. jenniferneri Tuesday / 28 July 09 at 8:55 pm #

    OOOhhh, satisfaction! Wonderful! I agree with you that at times slower is better. Especially at the editing stage. I am writing my second novel and I am finding that even the first draft is going so much smoother from the million times I edited the first. I loved seeing how the work in the first carried over to second. (Of course, I am certain that I will re-draft quite a few times with this one as well 🙂 )

    • owlandsparrow Wednesday / 29 July 09 at 8:53 am #

      How encouraging! This being my first novel, as you know, it’s so great to hear your perspective on your second one. I’m curious, too, to see what my next book will be like – perhaps my next first draft will be much less clunky than this one! (Though like you, I do not expect anything close to perfection the first time around. Even if it’s decent, or good, it could always be better.) 🙂


  1. Schemes & Schedules (Plus a Few Groovy Little Tricks) « Owl and Sparrow - Tuesday / 11 August 09

    […] pretty much took my current rate of churning out chapters (more oozing than churning, but whatever) and doubled my weekly expectations of myself.  I set a schedule of when I hope to […]

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