distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

My Long-Winded Way

It is apparently impossible for me to escape. I write long. Always, every time, I write too long. For example, I told you I write long twice, when all I had to do was say it once. Why? Why, I can’t help it. I wish I could be pitch-perfect and precise, but I’m a rambler.

My writing method is:

• Describe a thing somewhat eloquently.

• Describe a thing perhaps more eloquently.

• Describe a thing exactly eloquently enough.

• Add one more description just for the hell of it.

• Look back and panic at the sprawling paragraph.

• Decide to deal with it tomorrow.

• Move on to the next thing.

In this way, I write at least two pages for every one.

Once I’ve written to the end of the story, I go back and hack violently at the sentences. I cut and cut and cut and cut and then I write some more in the middle and then I cut some more and then I add seven more sentences I shouldn’t have added so I go back and cut three and then I try to cut more, I do, but I can’t, there’s a point at which it becomes painful, and so I leave it alone, until the next day when I go back in and start hacking again.

I guess it can feel sort of exhilarating.

Even when I try to keep myself to a very set page count—when I am not ALLOWED to turn in more than 20,000 words, for example—it is likely that I will write 40,000. I will then need days to get it down to a passable length for fear of horrifying the editors and jamming up their printers.

I have made it through a weekend of cuts and am now on to the next thing. I realize that I could have finished the project a full week ago if I’d just written shorter, but can I stop myself, can I? No, I cannot.

I could go on and on about this, but I will stop this post right now. Right before it’s—


4 responses to “My Long-Winded Way”

  1. ah–and I never write enough. I turn away from the page at the very points I need to dig in and write MORE. And my writing ain’t spare in the gorgeous Hemingway-esque spare, either.

    I always envied writers who could write more (and then cut down later)–but I suppose, grass greener on other wide, etc., etc.

  2. Take heart . . . It’s better to write too much than too little. The nice thing about writing is that you can always edit and delete your words. But you at least have to have the words to begin with.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. I’m going to check out your site now . . .

  3. But how awesome to get so swept up in all the possibility of those words (even if it means having to deletedeletedelete them out later).

    I have a bit of the opposite problem re: length & I panic over it in much the same way. I feel like I have to compensate for all the words I’m NOT writing or exploring, trying to perfect short little sentences until I’m satisfied there’s a world in them. I love-hate it.

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