When Your Work's Not So Much in Progress

If you've been following this blog for awhile, and especially if you are a writer yourself, you'll know that the road to a first draft is not a smooth one. You'll hit bumps, twists, and turns, and sometimes even a dead end.
Things happen, usually because writing time is rarely uninterrupted: your day job gets too demanding, the world needs saving (again), Loki's in Berserker mode and wants you to read his awful WIP, which is so unfocused it brings out the Other Guy and the next thing you know you've leveled a major East coast city. Okay, maybe those last examples don't apply to you, but this situation probably does: you take a (forced) break from writing and no matter how eager you are to get back to your WIP, when you power up that laptop and touch the keyboard you decide that you could use another day off, you know, to rest up and be really ready.
But don't do that. Instead, consider my Top Five Tips for Getting That Draft Back on  Track when you've stalled out.

1. Walk away from it. Literally. 
 The mace is optional, but go for a walk, get your blood flowing and your creative juices should follow suit. I do this a lot and often just a few miles into the walk, I'm hit with such a great idea I have to sprint back home before I lose it. When I'm feeling frustrated by my work, I walk away before the Other Guy comes out and bends my keyboard. 

2. Watch a great movie or read a really good book, not to copy it or to feel bad about your own failure to produce something equally amazing. (I guarantee you that those writers stalled out a few times, too. You're seeing the result of lots of revisions). Watch or read to be inspired.  
 Something in another story could unexpectedly spark an idea or provide the solution to a story problem.  I got the idea for the gamma bomb while reading sci fi. I regret how that turned out, of course, but you can put your inspiration to better use.

3. This one sounds antithetical, but hear me out: work on something else. I always have a few WIPS in various stages of progress: an outline; a first, second, or third draft; vague ideas written on a napkin in the Hulk's illegible scrawl. When I hit a brick wall with one WIP, I turn to another. I know that sounds like a serious case of ADD (worse than Stark's?) or more evidence that overexposure to gamma rays is to be avoided at all costs. I've gone on record saying that Loki's brain is like a bag full of cats because the guy cannot focus, and this plan sounds just as bad, like a sure route to never, ever, ever finishing anything. And it can be if you're not careful. But it works.

There's neuroscience behind it, but I won't bore you with it. (I tried to explain it to Hawkeye once and he just gave me that 500-mile stare he gets sometimes, and when I told Natasha about it, her mouth just formed that grim line that says without words that I have spent way too much time in a lab and not enough in the real world). Suffice to say that switching your brain to a new task, giving it a new problem to solve, actually liberates it so that you end up solving not only the new problem but the original one as well. It takes the pressure off and allows you to find the solution as you focus on something else - and often this happens surprisingly quickly. I'm going to recommend that Stark Industries suggest this to their employees - other companies have implemented it with great success.
 And it's definitely worked for me.

4. To ensure that you never even reach the point of stalling out on your WIP, always be sure that you know exactly where you want it to go next before you quit writing for the day. Never end a writing session without knowing what you'll start with when you open up that word doc again. I've been away from my WIP for over ten days and I sat down to it this morning, rustier than Iron Man in a swimming pool, but because I had a post-it note saying "Meets M in coffee shop" I knew what to do. I didn't let myself stare at that blank screen for too long. Sometimes you just have to power through a writing session, telling yourself that at the end of it, you'll at least have something to work with later. And something is almost always better than nothing, even if it looks pretty bad.

5. Remember these words from one of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway:
It makes me feel better to know that Hemingway felt this way too, even after writing so many great novels and short stories. You'll stall out, too, but you will find your way back again.

These are just my top five solutions of many - leave a comment with your own suggestions. And the Hulk wants to add one more:

No matter how frustrated you get, do not smash your laptop or writing device of choice, even if it's a pencil. Try those other suggestions until that urge passes.

Keep your rage on the page, my friends.

Bruce Banner (and Hulk) out. 

Improvising with Black Widow

In my line of work, you learn to improvise. You never know who or what is going to come around the corner and try and tear out your throat.  Keeps things interesting, at least. With my particular skill set, I’m prepared for anything. I apply that approach to my writing. One word at a time, ready for anything.

In polite circles, they call us gardeners. You’ll hear discovery writer and pantser—as in the seat of—as well. We’re the writers seemingly without a plan. We just see what happens. Writing is all about surprise and intrigue, unhindered by step by step directions as to where we go next.


I like to go in with my end game in mind. I know where the characters begin and I know how they end, but the in between is all improvised—for better or worse. It doesn't always come out the way I had in mind. The end is often completely different as my idea of who the characters are shifts and changes. They grow, they develop on their own. When I write, I start a fire and watch the world burn.

This is why I write. I never know what’s coming.  It’s an out of body experience.  Characters that I left behind show up again, with new twists. (Which has never happened in my professional life, ever.) The thrill of discovery drives the plot forward. I write knowing that each sentence, each paragraph will bring me deeper, closer to mysteries that I wouldn't have a chance to discover any other way. It's get in the car and drive sort of adventure. No maps and half the time no roads. I just do.

While drafting, I go over the last thousand words or so, trim, and get back in the narrative rhythm. Sometimes, there's less rhythm and more toddler with a pair of pots and a wooden spoon. Sometimes, I look at what I wrote and hit the backspace button until I find a suitable not-sucking point. Or rather, I copy and paste it into another document, where I store all the secrets of my bad writing. And yes, it is password protected.

But at the end of a draft, there are loose ends. There are plot holes. There are characters who show up once and never come back. I have first drafts that are such terrible messes that no amount of editing can put them polish them up. Plotters have the luxury of mapping. Pantsers have no map, and often times go down the wrong path. The first draft ends up being more like an extensive outline, rather than a cohesive story with some cleanup needed. It means starting over if you need to, knowing the plot points and character arcs well enough to complete a better draft.

Luckily, I enjoy editing. It actually becomes a problem when I’m drafting, because I’m prone to going back to the beginning to prune and polish. I spent two years of forty pages, once. I have to fight that part of me. There’s no stopping, no going back if you want to finish a draft. 

Regardless of how you draft, telling a good story is the most important part. We might write things we're not proud of. Know yourself, know your method, know how to get where you want to go. That's vital. Your journey is not Thor's journey, or Hawkeye's or Fury's. Know you, and do it. Write.


The Balancing Act of Drafting

So…you’re drafting a manuscript. First of all, that’s awesome. Once you finish this monster of a project, you’re going to feel like a real superhero (even if you aren’t, which is fine, because those guys can be real divas (but I never said that)). Of course, if you’re like me, that manuscript isn’t the only thing going on. Here I am, wanting to write some more of my WIP, when I also have to edit my last manuscript, write up some blog posts, try to get Steve to hang out with me – ALL while doing classified work for S.H.I.E.L.D. I’ll be at the most emotional scene, typing up a storm, when I get a buzz about a 0-8-4 forty miles away and need to gather my guys to investigate. 

Like most of you, I’d love to lock myself in my room and write for hours straight, but that’s not possible. Hydra’s not going to wait until your main characters finally act upon that romantic tension between them, that’s for sure. We have to find a way to balance drafting with the rest of our lives so a bunch of people don’t, you know, die.

There are a couple ways to track your drafting. You can set a daily manageable goal for yourself. Sure, there might be some of you that can crank out eleven thousand words a day, but you don’t have an eye-patched,  possibly unstable man making sure you’re doing your real job correctly. If – between saving lives, being dragged around by your men, and trying to squeeze in some sleep – you find that you can only write 500 words a day, that’s fine too. We all have different amounts of free time. So, find the number that works for you. Or don’t even bother with a number. Just make it your goal to write something every day. Any amount of progress is still progress, and that applies to drafting just as much as it applies to missions.

That said, if you do miss a day of drafting, it’s not the end of the world. I should know, as I’ve been through my fair share of “end of the world” type situations. Don’t get discouraged; don’t give up for that reason. If you want your draft finished, you’ll get there. Besides, we all have those an alien race is trying to destroy the planet and I’m stuck babysitting a ragtag group of superheroes that double as our only hope days. The important thing is not to write what others say is the best amount to write while drafting, it’s to write whatever you can.

Regardless of what your MC will whisper to you at night, you can’t be drafting all the time. Yeah, I get that not all  of us have double lives and a lot of top secret responsibilities, but we all have something that continuously pries us from our laptops. Don’t freak out too much. Taking some time out of your day to do other things, like reading, might make you a better writer – even if you need to give up some of that precious drafting time.

It's all about balance.

If S.H.I.E.L.D consisted of a bunch of Nick Fury’s, we’d be too busy bashing heads to get anything done. If we only had Maria Hill’s, things would get done, but I’m pretty sure there would be no smiling. It’s the balance of different personalities that has us being successful. For the most part. And the same thing can apply to our drafting.

You need to put time in your day to work on drafting – but also fit in everything that needs to be done. Just because you have to deal with protecting the world from danger doesn’t mean you can’t finish this draft. You can work, read, write and save the world – you just need to find that balance.

There’s no set way to do this and different days bring different challenges. It’s all about what works for YOU. So set writing goals, put on a timer, write on napkins if you have to. You’ll get that draft done, don’t feel like you need to give up your whole life to do it.

Just, you know, some of it.

As for me, I’m amount to hit my goal of 1,500 words for today…

Nevermind. Got a call from Fury, but that’s classified.


Take a Break

I write really quickly.

It must be something in the serum.  I used to type really slowly, but these days, there’s almost no time lost between creating a sentence in my mind and putting it on paper.  (Computer keyboards have helped, too.  You have no idea what a pain it is to use a typewriter.)  Since I’m primarily a discovery writer or pantser, I don’t stop and think about whether this sentence is going to help or hurt foreshadowing for a plot twist coming up three chapters later.  Perhaps it’s a flaw, writing so quickly, because editing is an enormous pain-- but I enjoy that speed.

As with anything, however, there is a price to pay.  Using that much creativity in a small amount of time takes a toll on you.  Sometimes I forget to eat as I’m pounding away at the keyboard.  Sometimes my fingers start to hurt, or my eyes start to go wonky at staring at the screen for so long.  Sometimes-- and this is the worst-- I run out of creative juice completely.

It feels terrible.  One moment, I’m whaling away at what I’m convinced is the best story ever.  I just did a killer plot twist, introduced a new conflict, and raised the stakes for my main character-- and all the enthusiasm dies.  I start fishing for things to say to keep my fingers moving while I try to figure out what happens next.  I find myself writing an essay describing the effects of gravity on French toast before I finally realize what happened: no more creativity.  I can’t go on.

This doesn’t just happen to pantsers-- creativity burnout can happen to plotters as well.  But as with anything, it has a fix.  Here’s how to implement it.

Step 1: See the problem and stop.

One moment you’ll be plugging away, the next you’ll have a thesis on plumber migration that you didn’t expect.  Or worse, you’ll sit there staring at your blinking cursor for a good five minutes before you realize you stopped.  At that point, you have a problem.  Don’t keep writing about plumbers.  Don’t keep staring at the cursor.  You’re going to have to stop.

Not forever, of course, although it might feel like you’ll never be able to write again.  It’s not the end of the world.  Promise yourself that you’ll pick this up later-- now is the time to recharge your batteries.  Congratulate yourself on realizing that you have a problem-- that’s always the first step to solving anything.  Now it’s time to fix it.

Step 2: Do something else.

This is very important.  Distance yourself from your work for a while.  Go out and take a walk.  Get yourself some food.  Play with someone younger than you.  At this point, it’s important that you keep from reading, watching movies, or thinking about your story.  Don’t do anything writing-related!  It’s going to be hard, especially after the push you just did, but it will help.  Listen to music.  Go for a drive.  Play dress-up with a kid, or someone childish.

Take an hour.  Take two.  Take as much time as you need to relax.  One of the complications of this problem is the panic-- if you think you’re never going to be a success if you can’t finish one day of writing, you’re wrong.  Breathe, calm down, and do something that isn’t stressful.  It will be worth it.

Step 3: Recharge your creative batteries.

Here comes the fun part.  You get to juice up with creativity, in any way you can.  Watch a movie.  Watch two.  Read a book cover to cover.  Listen to a really good storyteller, or watch a reading by an author you enjoy on the internet.  Ingest a story, with the sole intention of enjoying it.  Have fun.

Remember, this time is for you to absorb creativity-- it isn’t time yet to give it away.  Try and keep from making up stories of your own, or thinking about story ideas.  You’re still distancing yourself from your work, even though you’re preparing to dive back in.

Step 4: Figure out how to proceed.

Even if you’re a pantser, this is important.  Take some time to think about what’s going on in the story and what needs to happen next.  Perhaps you know exactly what happens next, even though you had to stop.  Good for you.  You can dive back in.  If not, take a shower or get a piece of paper and tell it all about the problems you’re having.  An idea will come to you eventually.  Just give it time.

Now is the time to think about the story constantly.  Don’t let it out of your head for a moment, even if you have to do other things.  You’ve regained your creativity, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to slack off.  Keep building toward the next step.

Step 5: Get back to work.

You’ve had your break.  Your creative batteries are recharged and you’ve given that childish side of you a chance to play dress-up.  It’s time to get back to work.  You know what to do.

As events like NaNoWriMo draw on, or as you near the middle of your novel, you’ll find it becomes more of an endurance test than a one-shot sort of thing.  Keep plugging away, but remember to take breaks once in a while.  If you find yourself waxing eloquent about something completely unrelated to your novel, it’s time to step back and recharge your batteries.  Sometimes it’ll take half an hour to recuperate-- other times, it’ll take the rest of the day.  Don’t be afraid of taking a break, but never let the break last too long.  You’ve got a novel to finish.

~Captain America

YAvengers Revealed

The wait has been unbearable. We know you are anxious as we to hear the identities of the four newest YAvengers, and so I shall not bore you with more words you likely will not read.

I, Thor, present to you, the newest members of the Team.



I’m Steve Rogers, or Captain America. I’m a supersoldier, I carry a shield, and if you start hurting people I could punch you to Alaska. But those identities are too well known now, forcing me under the radar again.

My new persona is Liam Wood. He’s a teenage blogger, avid reader, and writer of most classified genres (mostly fantasy). He has a Tumblr and a Twitter. He’s about as talented at writing as Steve Rogers used to be at pushups - but he worked hard at it and isn’t stopping now.


I'm Dr. Bruce Banner. I hide out from SHIELD and my former colleagues at Gamma Base in a leafy New England town where I pretend to be college instructor and YA writer Stephanie Wardrop, a woman with a serious addiction to iced tea and a love of very long sentences. Writing snarky YA fiction helps me keep "the other guy" in check, though sometimes I just have to let him out, especially when I have a revision deadline (Hulk smash run-on sentences). The last time I was in New York, I kind of broke. . . Harlem.

Follow my alter-ego on her blog or Twitter.


Agent Natasha Romanoff. Codename Black Widow. I play with the big boys. What I lack in super powers, I make up for in skill. I specialize in espionage, secrets, and unhappy endings. (They might be connected somehow.)

In between missions, I daylight as Megan Eccles, mother of two and MFA candidate in Fiction. She writes YA speculative fiction, wears babies, and drinks gallons of tea. Follow her blogTwitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.


Hi. I'm Agent Phil Coulson. You probably know me as being the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent - a fairly witty spy in the midst of real superheroes. But, when I'm not behind the scenes saving the world with the help of my team, or taking care of my vintage Captain America trading cards, I sometimes use my undercover guise, Justine Winans. You wouldn't think that a teenage writer and book blogger would be a useful identity against terrorist groups like Hydra, but it's gotten me out of some testy situations - and allows me to tweet, write, and blog about YA fiction without getting a death glare from Nick Fury.

Don't worry about keeping this secret, I know a thing or two about classified information.


Congratulations to those chosen! We hope you will all join us in raising your glasses high to toast their success. Follow their links in the bios to keep up with them, and stay tuned as these new YAvengers post their thoughts on Drafting later this week and next, finishing up this Camp NaNo month.


Assemble Update

Greetings Midgardians.

I, Thor, am here today to inform you that the decision has been reached. Our four candidates have been chosen and we will announce their identities on Monday, the twenty-first of this month called July. 

On that day, at 9 o'clock in the morning, on the Eastern coast of the United States, you will be privileged to meet the new voices for Captain America, Black Widow, The Hulk, and a special top-secret new super-hero writer. We hope you will join us on that day in support of our new members.

Also, we would like to extend our gratitude to all those who applied. There were nineteen of you, and the decision to narrow it down to four was a difficult one, to say the least. Our hope is that whether you were chosen or not, you will continue to support us here at YAvengers. We may be called heroes, but we could not do what we do without you.

Thank you.


Tips for Making the First Draft Easier

Writing the first draft isn't easy. At times, it's fun. It can be the best and worst part of writing. But no matter how long you've been a writer, drafting never becomes easier. But there are some tips that I've gathered along the way.

1. Outline before hand

Obviously, this tip is not for everyone (pansters prefer to write the story without any sort of outline). However, writing an outline helps defeat writer's block and help with that "who's driving this thing?" feeling you get somewhere between chapters 9 and 16. It will also make drafting a faster process with less revisions afterward.

2. Write out of order

No one said that you had to write your story starting at chapter one and working your way to the end. If you're approaching a wall, skipping that chapter and moving on to a fresh chapter will still allow you to meet your daily word count. Plus, if you have unfinished chapters after writing the end of your novel, it makes the motivation to go back and finish them significantly stronger.

3. Don't go back and edit

If you struggle with finishing your projects, this is the most important tip I can give you. Don't look back. Even if you accidentally change a character's name halfway through the story, keep going. You're way more likely to finish if you churn out the story rather than pausing and fixing your errors. That's the point of revisions. 

4. Give yourself permission to suck

This is actually a tip from John Green, and it's one of my favorites. Rather than agonizing over every line of your writing, accept that first drafts will never be perfect and move on. You can think of a snappier line of dialogue after you finish the story and know your characters better. 

5. Don't research as you go

I know the temptation of spending three hours on a Wikipedia binge or researching the etymology of a new character name. But don't. Those are three hours that you could be spending writing. It doesn't matter if you don't know port from starboard in your first draft. Just let it be (insert Frozen lyrics).

Never Look Back

what is his face

First drafts are hard.

When you’re new to this game, everyone tells you that finishing is only the first step, and all the editing and stuff is still to come, and honestly you’re still just a fledgling writer because you finished a first draft. When you’ve been writing a few years, you start to realise: finishing a first draft is huge because first drafts are really hard.

Which is why even deciding to write one is a Big Deal.

But even if you’ve written half a dozen novels before, it can still be hard to stay on track. There are two major temptations when you’re writing a first draft: to self-edit, and to research. Let’s talk about combating those desires.

The desire to self-edit is the main thing that programs like NaNoWriMo counsel you to lock up in a room. It’s the inner editor. I’ve got one. It sounds a lot like JARVIS, but I’m pretty sure that’s because it is JARVIS, who likes to read over my shoulder and make sarky comments about my grammar.

You know what’s actually not that important in a first draft? Grammar. Right. If he doesn’t stop pointing out my double negatives, I’m going to reprogram him.

i will donate you

Self-editing can be destructive in writing first drafts, because you’ll get distracted by rewriting that one scene in your first chapter which didn’t work and next thing you know, you’ve rewritten everything you already did and you haven’t made any progress. And that’s great if you’re a slow, steady drafter, but the fact is, you’re less likely to finish that way.

Sometimes, you’ve got to lock up that inner editor and just write until you get to the end of the draft, messy as it is. Then you can edit to your heart’s delight. So here are some tools to help you.

Write Or Die will help you write for a short period of time. Or a long one, if you’re brave. Set a wordcount goal, set a timer, and write. If you put it on Consequence Mode, you’ll get a nasty noise or picture when you stop writing, whereas Kamikaze Mode will actually start eating your words one by one until you start again. It’ll encourage you to keep going and get a chunk of writing done.

Similarly, ilys doesn’t let you see what you’re doing except the most recent letter (so you can try and figure out if you made a typo, but you’ll end up confusing yourself). You can’t edit anything you’ve written until you hit the wordcount goal you set yourself, and you have to keep going blindly. Personally, I don’t like flying blind, so this doesn’t suit me, but it might suit you if you’re getting stuck on every sentence because you can’t find the perfect word.

By the way, ilys is just one of the resources we recently reblogged on our Tumblr account. Why don’t you follow us for more?

Research is a slightly more difficult one. I get it, you want your book to be good, so you totally need to know exactly the shape of a bullet exit wound fired from a certain angle. Five hours later you’re reading about Peter the Great’s tax on beards in 1695 with no idea how you got there. Or you’re researching male strippers. It kind of depends on your internet habits.*

not the worst thing

Honestly, my biggest piece of advice is do the basic research you need before you start, and then do none until you’re done with your first draft. If you’re convinced something is an error but you don’t have time to look it up, make a note to yourself. This draft is yours.

My preferred method is to put square brackets around the comment and preface is with XX, because that doesn’t come up in other words very often, so I can then run a search for XX at the end and see all the questions I left myself.

It links back to editing: if you’ve forgotten a character’s name, or the name of a place, or you’re not sure whether these two characters have met before, don’t go back and look unless you’re very good at resisting the urge to self-edit while you’re poking around in earlier chapters. Just write. For example:

“Hello!” says Polly. [XX Neighbour’s Name] doesn’t return the greeting, scowling at her. She ignores their grumpy manner and continues on her way into town.

In one of my first drafts, my character worked for Company X. Not because it was a mysterious firm – they ran conferences about music education, mostly – but because I couldn’t think of a name and didn’t want to delay trying to make one up. I’ve had characters who ended up being called [XX NAME] for three chapters because I named them earlier but couldn’t remember what it was.

Looking through earlier chapters counts as research and self-editing, so it’s super important not to do it.

If it’s a more major question take the same approach. [XX is this actually how cancer is diagnosed?] When you get to the end of the first draft, search for those XX comments first, and then you’ll know what it is you need to target in your research prior to starting the second draft.

Hope that’s helped. For those of you doing Camp NaNoWriMo, the team wishes you the best of luck. Let us know your wordcounts in the comments!

and then shawarma

-- Iron Man

*Both of these examples are totally hypothetical, I promise you. These are totally not things I’ve read about recently. Not at aaaaaaall. 

Plot it, Don't Pants it!

Hello friends. I've been absent I know. Top secret SHIELD missions have kept me just a little busy, and under the radar for a while. No, it doesn't have anything to do with incidents on the news. And no, I was not involved with blowing up any cities out of the way. 

So with that said, on to today's topic; plotting before the first draft. 

There are two kinds of writers in this world. Those that Outline and those that Pants. That's the generic division anyway. But even Pansters need some plan before they start. It's basic writing. One big idea needs smaller ideas to make it work. You need a goal in mind. So I'm going to give you a few things to think about before you start the first draft. 

Maybe you're an outliner and need some questions to think about when getting ready to plan, maybe you're a panster and want to develop a couple pages of thoughts and notes to go off of. Either way, here's some questions to ask before the first draft. That way, your story won't turn into crap, while will in turn make you feel like crap as a writer. 

What Do I Expect From This Book?
What is my vision of the end product?

What Do My Readers Expect From This Book?
What should the idea and synopsis of the story help them to picture?

What Can I Do To Throw My Readers for a Loop?
How can I surprise them with plot twists?

What Will People Be Saying About This Book?
Write an advance glowing review for your novel

How Can I Make My Readers Feel Hard? 
What themes/emotions do you want to be an underlying tone?

What Do I REALLY Want In My Book?
It is your book, what elements do YOU want included to make it really yours?

Now these are just a few questions you can answer before you start a novel to get your brain rolling. And every genre is going to be different. With fantasy, there are magic rules and systems to reason on. Contemporary might focus more on the feels and characters. Dystopian calls for well ordered and exciting plot. Answer these generic questions and then focus them on your specific book idea and you'll get your brain rolling in no time. 

Well duty calls and I must away. Good luck folks! Later Days,

Slow and Steady vs. Fast and Furious

Greetings, Midgardians.

As this month of July is what they call CampNaNo, we, the YAvengers, are here to speak to you about drafting your novel. I have been told there are some who call themselves "speed-drafters," and others who refer to themselves as "slow-drafters." I am here to tell you about both.


These fine people are quite the typists. They have the blessed ability to turn off their inner-editor and let the words flow. Not only that, but the words flow with the speed of a Chitauri hovercraft. (If you missed the battle for New York, just know that means very, very fast.) The best of Speed-Drafters not only win NaNoWriMo every year, but they can sometimes write a novella in a weekend. Ten-thousand-word days are not uncommon for these writers.

High word counts are to be celebrated.

However, it should be noted that speed writers tend to also be binge-writers. They are those who go days without writing anything, then will sit with a chunk of time and not stop for anything. They may schedule an entire day just to write (don't we all wish we could). (Note, this is not the case for all, just something I personally have noticed as a trend.)

A downside to speed-drafting is that the resulting manuscript will usually require a great amount of revision. Turning off one's inner-editor can be a blessing when words are needed, but that editor is absolutely necessary when trying to fix a problem or find the precise word or sentence structure. Speed-drafters might be able to write a novel in a month, but the revision can take much longer to get it just right.

Does this sound like something you do?

Any comments?


Slow-Drafters are gifted with patience. Whether they are plotters or pantsers, architects or gardeners, slow-drafters want to get things just right. Rather than turn off the inner-editor while drafting, they use it. They take their time constructing sentences and scenes, making sure they have it the way they want it. The good news of this is that revisions tend to take less time. For those of you who despise revising, perhaps this method might be your style.

Patience... paaaatience...

These writers are more likely to have regular writing time scheduled into their day. They are the consistent ones, spending a little every day in order to make slow and steady progress. (Again, not the case with all, simply a trend.)

You might think the downside to this method is spending so much time editing during the draft that they never finish the novel. This is certainly a struggle for some slow-drafters, but a practiced slow-drafter will know when to cut themselves off from tweaking and move on. Slow-Drafters do in fact finish novels.


As you can see, both of these methods have strengths and weaknesses. I have pointed out the extreme cases, of course, and most of us will fall somewhere between these two types. As always, I would encourage you to attempt both and see which works best for you. Only you can know your writing process.

Good luck.