October 22nd, 2008

A Birthday

juggling while writing

One writing technique I've found useful -- well, a meta-technique -- is don't try juggling your techniques until you've mastered them.

I devised a rule for myself at one point:  write fat and revise lean.  If I needed one telling detail at one point, and I thought up two, I would write them both down unless one was obviously better than the other.  Then I could revise in cold blood.  That way, I didn't have to try to be descriptive and judgmental of my own descriptions at once.  Much easier than sweating to remember that perfect telling detail that I had discarded in the first draft.

And there was a time when characters wouldn't tell me their motives in the first draft.  'Sokay.  I wrote down what they did, and then on the second draft, I put in all their motivations.

Actually, neither rule gets much use now.  I find myself writing the stuff all in the first draft.  But then, I've had a bit of practice while applying the rules.