Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What type of writer are you?

Every time NaNoWriMo comes around, I realise once more how many different types of writers there are out there. Thousands of them start sharing tips and techniques, and give advice to each other. There are as many methods out there as there are writers.

When it comes to first draft, I tend to vomit it. Yeah, not very classy, but that's the reality of it. I blurt out tons of words super fast (especially in November), but they must be among the most horrible first drafts to see the light of day.

I used not to be a fan of editing (wanna guess why?) but I have to say the satisfaction of witnessing my muddled heap of words turn into a more sensible prose was fantastic.

What kind of writer you? Do you take years to write your first draft, making it a shiny being? Or are you like me, giving birth to a shapeless pile before you can work your story?


  1. I develop everything except for dialogue very heavily in my head. Once I begin to type it out it ends up pretty close to the finished product. I just need some editing passes to fix relatively small things.

  2. I definitely am the edit as I go person who takes forever to write a first draft. I'm really going to have to work to do NaNoWriMo this year! I've never done it before.

  3. I'm a vomit it out as quickly as possible type. Although I'm often surprised at how good the word-vomit is once I'm done. Well, you know, compared to what it could be - it still needs lots of editing (which I also hate) :P

  4. @Ted, Aimee: Don't you ever get so carried away with your story that you can't just stop, and you need to go on? It's one of the main reasons I go so fast.

    @stickynotestories: Yeah, most of the time I can still work with what I wrote instead of dumping it all. The exception is scenes start. I almost always end up rewriting the first page of a scene.

  5. You already know the answer but a bit like you: I vomit everything I can during Nanowrimo, not caring very much of the quality.

    However it often leads to some crazy texts that are good or not, that I want to edit or not. Still I like not to see the little red lines under the words I write. So I guess I write fast enough not to care but... I still care?

    Ok I'm not clear :P

    See you tomorrow hun!

  6. I have a hard time changing the words in any substantial way once they hit the paper...er...screen. It's like trying to change the course of a river once they've taken time to 'set'. I have an easier time scrapping and starting over than doing heavy editing. Thus I tend to edit as I go and write more slowly in exchange for a cleaner first draft comparable to a second or third draft. At that point my editing becomes an enjoyable exercise in trimming unnecessary words and polishing to a high sheen. :) Time-wise, I suspect it comes out six of one, half dozen the other. This nanowrimo will be a first for me. I'm willing to try a faster clip with less editing (perhaps with a rule that I can edit only the previous day's writing) for at least the first few days.

  7. mdal, editing is never that recommended during NaNoWriMo BUT, if you are going to do it, something you should do is set a minimum wordcount before you start it. That way, you'll have at least progressed in the novel before you start cutting.

    I hear of other writers who, instead of cutting out the words, simply strike them and write the new one next to it. It looks messy, but these words count at the end of the month, and I think it's well within NaNo's spirit to leave them there.

    Whatever you do, though, the importance is that you have fun, and feel satisfied at the end of the month. :)

  8. I write with a very bare-bones outline - VERY bare bones. Sometimes just a couple pages of notes that I've cobbled together from ideas, but as I start writing I kind of keep in mind the basic rules of story structure - turning points and climaxes and so forth. But that's no guarantee they won't turn out into a "shapeless pile" - and they ALWAYS take a drastic turn I wasn't expecting. That's the fun of NaNoWriMo!