Saturday, October 29, 2011

On Writing: Quantity vs Quality

My biggest difficulty with writing projects like NaNoWriMo is that I always end up caring too much about my story. Getting out those 50,000 words in a month is about putting the words down, not so much being concerned whether they're the right ones or not. I'm sure this is a lot easier for people who are in the habit of writing many drafts before their completed piece, but I almost never have more than two. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, though in caring for my characters and my story too much, it does make it more difficult to edit the story, especially after I reach the frame of mind where it is a complete work, and some editor feels that that is not the case.

I just don't want to put down words that I intend to trim away later, in the unofficial Novel-Editing Month (December). In a world where a few extra words doesn't make the difference between a new page, where a new draft doesn't mean retyping the entire composition, I don't have any reason to not mind putting down some extra words just to make that landmark count. But then, I'm a poet, first and foremost, and in poetry every word counts, and throwing in a few extra lines can change the tone of the entire piece.