Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Hurry-Up Offense

the hurry-up offense: In American football, an offensive strategy designed to gain as much yardage as possible while running as little time off the clock as possible.

the hurry-up manuscript: In writing, a strategy designed to put as many words on the page as possible while running as little time off the clock as possible.

If there is one thing I've learned thus far in 2010, it's that I am NOT good at the hurry-up manuscript. I admire those folks who can produce 5 or 6,000 words in a sitting, but I'm not one of them. Some writers can churn and burn, get a story on paper in a matter of days. More power to them. Seriously - wow! But I've found that when I try that, my story *feels* hurried, rushed. It has no breathing space. And I really, really like breathing space. I like luxuriating in words, letting them simmer and stew and fill my mindspace like how the smell of a pot of soup takes over your house after a few hours. This makes me a slow writer, but I've found I enjoy taking my time with a story. I don't have the opportunity to write every day, and allowing myself plenty of time with a story gives me the chance to think about my characters a lot, think about the best way to transition to the next scene, think about the path this story should take. So my promise to myself: commit no more hurry-up offenses.

How about you? Do you prefer to knock out a story quickly, while it's fresh, or let it simmer?


Shelli said...

i like the all nighters. I get into the story much deeper without breaks.

Kristin Tubb said...

All-nighters! Shelli, you are a far stronger woman than I! ;-) Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

Keep on posting such stories. I love to read articles like that. By the way add some pics :)

Kristin Tubb said...

Ha! Anon, you're exactly right. More pics in next post, I promise. :-)

Rae Ann Parker said...

I would love for someone to sprinkle some fast-writer fairy dust on me! But remember the story of the turtle and the hare. :)

Christi Atherton said...

I have done both ways. I occasionally knock off a couple of thousand at a sitting, but smaller amounts are MUCH more common for me. When I'm really into my story, the word count tally can zoom way up there without me even knowing it. Of course, I have to have not only the inspiration, but the time for that too!

Kristin Tubb said...

RA - Yes! I am such the turtle! (I hope that means this WIP is a winner?) :-)

Christi - you're right. some days the words flow easier than others. For me, the words flow easier when I have an outline, I've noticed. I'm going back and starting an outline for this new WIP so I can *finally* get past chapter 6! :-)

Thanks for stopping by, y'all! :-)

Patricia Nesbitt said...

As the old farmer says, "I think my giddy-up has gotten up and went."
I don't hurry with writing very well, and I am way too ancient to pull the all-nighters any more. More power to those of you who can.

I do believe in outlines and lists and lots of pre-planning. Then I seem to do lots more head-writing and dreaming and imagining before I feel ready to touch the keys.

When I am lucky, a chapter will spill out as if it has been pent up by all that head-writing, and I finally opened the dam. But, then the hard work begins with letting it simmer and then revising. I have discovered that I am not a very patient person and that I am way too stubborn about my words.
But, I must keep trying and keep writing. That too may be a reflection of my stubbornness!

Kristin Tubb said...

Patricia, I love that term, "head writing!" And I know exactly what you mean by it - I have young kids, so a lot of my "writing" is done while I'm also playing trains or ball or something else! :-)

Thanks for stopping by!