Writing Quickly by Natalie Charles and Giveaway!

We have author Natalie Charles and she'll also giveaway a signed copy of her The Seven Day Target to US commenters and an Amazon Kindle eGift of The Seven Day Target to International commenters!



Natalie on the web:
Website     Facebook     Twitter     Author Page

"Writing Quickly" – by Natalie Charles

 

While some writers may despise editing, my problem has always been over-editing. I don't write quickly. I overthink, dawdle and edit my sentences to death. For a normal first chapter, I may take six or seven (or more) passes at it, writing and rewriting until I think it's perfect before moving on. Needless to say, this habit has hindered my writing by making it nearly impossible to ever finish something.

Fast forward to November, 2011 when I received the Call and learned I'd won Mills & Boon's New Voices competition. I'd won the opportunity to have my book, The Seven-Day Target, published! Great news, right? Sure…except that I was so certain I wouldn't win New Voices that I'd only written 10k. No problem. I just had to come up with another 50k. In four weeks.

Yikes.

This was me they were talking about. The slow, deliberate writer who took a long time to finish anything. I didn't panic (well, maybe a little) but for the first time in my life, when I sat down to write, I wrote quickly. I wrote each and every day, determined not to edit my thoughts or fret about word choice. Editing could (and would) come later. First things first, and I had to write this book.

I couldn't have asked for a more challenging assignment, but to be honest, it was the kick in the pants I needed. I not only finished The Seven-Day Target in four weeks, but I learned that all of the obsessing I'd been doing about my writing had only succeeded in wasting precious time. For the first time, I was able to separate the frenetic, creative first draft process from the analytical editing process.

To this day, I try to write my first drafts quickly and to save my obsessing for the edits. I can edit a messy paragraph or strike a disastrous chapter, but it turns out I can't edit a blank page.

I'd love to hear about how you write your first drafts. Do you banish all edits, edit as you go along, or do a combination of the two?



Read Chapter One

Review by Cataromance

Read Reviews

Buy Links:



Amazon       B&N       Powells
      BAM       IndieBound

43 comments:

  1. I love to write those first drafts fairly quickly too. I think it's because I stumbled into NaNoWriMo fairly early on in my writing journey. I signed up not realizing how big a task it was and loved it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, I love Nano too, Jemi! It's such a huge undertaking, but what a neat way to bring writers together for one, crazy month. :-)

      Delete
    2. Welcome to Revisions & Editions, Natalie!

      Delete
    3. Hi Jemi!

      You had a lucky break with starting NANO so early and started writing fast.

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  2. I obsess over details, too, and it slows me down. I wish I could write faster, but I doubt I'll ever write at Nano speed. I am doing a little better, learning to put words / notes in parenthesis and move on.

    Good luck with your book. It's sitting TBR on my Kindle right now. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think I'll ever be a truly fast writer either, Melissa, and I think that's okay as long as my internal editor doesn't hold me up _too_ much.

      And wow - thank you so much for trying The Seven-Day Target! I hope you enjoy it. :-)

      Delete
    2. Thanks Melissa for sharing about your writing journey and about adding Natalie's book to your reading pile!

      Delete
  3. My first drafts are slow until after I introduce the main characters and get them interacting. Then they're fast. I seem to need that extra time to let them get happy with each other before moving on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES. That first part is so difficult, isn't it? Figuring out how the characters talk, and what their dynamic is. Absolutely.

      Delete
    2. Hi Carol.

      Thanks so much for sharing about your own experiences!

      Delete
  4. I usually write first and edit later. It's something that saves a lot of time for me, and helps me focus on one thing at a time, making sure I do each thing well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great point! I often feel like I'm in a much different mindset when writing than when editing. All the more reason to keep the two tasks separate!

      Delete
    2. Hello MJ!

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I love reading everyone's different ways of writing and editing!

      Delete
  5. I spent about a month planning my novels and then the first draft pretty much writes itself. I love editing, so that's not a problem for me, but I don't edit while writing the first draft.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Seriously? This is my dream schedule, to spend a month planning a book and to then be able to write it. You're ahead of the curve, Stina! :-)

      Delete
    2. Wow! Stina! You have it down pat! Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  6. I am a slow writer, too, but I am working on it! I agree that it is better to get that first draft down without critiquing it too much as you go. Lord knows there will be plenty of edits later! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I feel like the queen of edits. I pretty much rewrote The Seven-Day Target. But hey, at least I had something to rewrite! Thanks for sharing. :-)

      Delete
    2. Hi Rachel,

      Yes, we have to fill the blank paper or the computer screen filled before there is anything to edit!

      Delete
  7. I do a little of both, though I mostly plow through and brain dump. Unless something's really, really bugging me (or I just thought of the EVEN MORE PERFECT way to say what I said yesterday) I won't go back and change previous chapters until I go into full edit mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So smart, JeffO. I'll bet you're much more productive with that kind of discipline, too.

      Delete
    2. That's the way to go JeffO!

      Delete
  8. I'll admit that when I'm in the grove, I can plow through a first draft fairly quickly. Getting lost in the story usually shuts up my inner editor enough to get to work :) (Emphasis on the usually there!). Editing is a whole other story, and not my favorite part, so that can take ages!

    Congrats on your book!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, meradeth! Is there anything better thank getting lost in a story? I think that's what pulls me back to writing another book even after I've completed those painful edits. :-)

      Delete
    2. Hi Meradeth,

      I think you are doing it the right way!

      All the best!

      Delete
  9. I used to be the same. I'd take ages to write anything because I was constantly 'fixing' it. I found when I write faster, I also write better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, good point, Lynda! Do you also find that sometimes you reread your work and don't even remember writing those (usually good) words?

      Delete
  10. I try not to edit as I go along and try to bash out a really rough first draft without worrying too much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Smart, Patsy. I've realized it puts the cart before the horse, so to speak, by editing first or simultaneously. The writer needs to speak before the editor does.

      Delete
    2. Hi Patsy!

      That's the way to go about it! Thanks for sharing!

      Delete
  11. That sounds like a plan. Write as fast a you can and just get on to the editing bit later. Now the result of your labour is there for all to see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so surreal! And I'm sure readers will weigh in as to whether my editing was thorough enough! ;-)

      Delete
    2. Yes, Maria. What an awesome plan for Natalie!

      Delete
  12. You are definitely not the only one who edits pieces to death. I have a terrible habit of doing so. But like you, I've learned that if I write fast, my ideas are able to come out without the threat of that internal critic yelling too loudly.

    Great post,
    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jen! Yes, I've found it's difficult to turn that internal critic off, but many days that's the only way I can get something written. Thanks for sharing! xx

      Delete
    2. Hi Jen!

      Thanks for coming by!

      Delete
  13. What a great post! I love the last sentence! I am trying to get better and faster and writing and editing later, but I tend to go through things over and over again before I move on. I guess when the time crunch is on it is a good motivator. :) Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jess!

      Thanks for coming by to chat with Natalie!

      Delete
  14. I rarely edit as I go along. I want to get the draft out of the way first.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is the smart thing to do, Medeia! Thanks for coming by!

      Nas

      Delete
  15. Over-editing sounds a bit like a good problem to me, but I understand what you mean:) Neat post:)

    ReplyDelete
  16. great job for rising to the challenge! I usually try to go through my first drafts quickly as well, otherwise my internal editor will kick in and just distract me to no end!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

    ReplyDelete

Join the discussion. What do you think?