Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Are you the tortoise or the hare?


In writing, there are such a variety of methods people use to extract their book from the recesses of their brain to the pages of a manuscript.

There are "pantsters" those who write by the-seat-of-their-pants. These folks fly through the story at break neck speed without a thought for the quality of what they are turning out. Pantsters wouldn't even consider going back to read or revise until that all important first draft is done. They can log an entire manuscript in a month (think NaNoWriMo) or a few months.

There are planners. These people brainstorm, outline, or plot out their stories before they delve into the writing process. While they may sway from their original plans, it keeps them on target.

Then there are writers who need perfection so much that they write a page only to keep one sentence. Writing a novel may take them 10 years, but you can bet it will be a masterpiece when they're finished.

I think of the pansters as the hares. The perfectionists are definitely the tortoises. And the in-betweeners? Hmmm. I'm not sure where they fit in.

All of these ways have been successful for different authors at various times.

I am not a huge planner. I usually just delve in and write until I can't write anymore. When I hit a snag I may outline a bit or create a time line or even, gasp, go back and read what I have so far. Mostly though I'm a hare. A book usually takes me about four to six months to write and then another three to revise.

I'm definitely not the fastest hare out there. My critiquing partner once told me of a writer she knows who pumps out like eight novels a year. Now that is a gold medal hare! I'm attempting to be a one-book-a-year hare.

Where are you in the tortoise and the hare fable? What's your perfect writing pace? Are you speedy? Slow and steady? Or somewhere in between?

5 comments:

Sari said...

I'm a flying squirrel!:)

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

lol great post.

I'd have to say I'm in the middle? My goal is to pump out four books a year, but I don't know how many my agent can handle. lol

Plus if my CP continues to push me, it may be more like 6 or 7!

Talk soon!

Maggie said...

Bonnie. You are nowhere in the middle. You are in first place at every race. You do plot and outline a bit, but when I think of break-neck writing speed, you are the first one who comes to my mind!

You keep being the hare and I'll hang on to your fluffy little cottontail and you can drag me.

Deborah A. said...

Gosh. I think I'm a panster. I write all the way through without editing or revising, but I work very hard to make sure that it's not junk. The easiest way to have a quality finished product is to start with one.

But when it comes to revising and edits, it takes me FOREVER! It probably takes me 6 - 8 months. I have 3 editors, so it changes a lot of hands and that takes time as well.

Jolene Perry said...

I fly through my first draft. I always fly through a scene, then go back over it right away and edit.
I can get through a first draft (if It's all I'm doing) in 2-4 weeks. BUT the editing... oh, the editing...

THe hardest part for me is to leave the MS alone for a while so I can see it more objectively when I'm finished.

Oh, and yeah, if you hadn't already figured - Panster.