If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.


In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

Go, Slow, Stop: Pacing and Drafting


At this very moment, I’m about two-and-a-half chapters from finishing my current work in progress.

Three scenes.

And then I’m done.

Well, with the first draft, anyway.

About fifty read-throughs later and it’ll be ready for beta-reader consumption. I’m sort of kidding, but really, I’m an over-reader—I have a hard time letting go until everything is perfect.

And that’s exactly why those three scenes might take me the next ten days or so to write.

Even though I will write for an hour or two each day Monday through Friday this coming week.
Yes, I am excruciatingly slow at the end of a manuscript.

Even though this is technically the first draft, I’m constantly editing myself. To move forward, I must read what I wrote the day before. Then I’ll add to it a phrase at a time. Building at the pace of two steps forward, one step back.

I’ve noticed I tend to do this on nearly every manuscript I’ve ever written. I am super slow in the first 10,000 words—careful to make sure my set up is completely perfect. And then I’m super slow again during the final 10,000 words—careful to make sure the pay off is completely perfect.

I know I could just bang it out. That’s often what I’m doing in the middle of a first draft—a chapter a day or more. But I often feel like if I take it slow and get it just right the first time, I save myself tons of work and heartache later.

So, as much as I would have liked to type “the end” this weekend, the earliest that will probably come is next weekend.

That said, I know plenty of writers who plow through the first section of their novels as well as the last section and tend to struggle in the “soggy” middle.

Have you noticed you do one or the other? Or do you keep the same pace? Or do you do both and find it depends on the manuscript?

As I plod away, I’m quite curious.

8 comments:

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Nope – first draft I will plow through from beginning to end without much worry. I don’t outline, so I don’t know the story until I get done. Then the real work begins.

On my current WIP, I have been struggling with one character’s motivation. I finally (FINALLY!) figured out something that really works.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

I also cannot read through a WIP without editing what I've already written. The way to do it is to do it your way.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I do both, pantsing my way through the first draft but doing my morning warmup by tinkering with what I wrote the previous day. I'm going crazy trying to simultaneously write the first draft of my second book (morning) while intensively revising my first book (afternoon). I struggle with motivation for my MC. New characters have an annoying way of popping up out of nowhere and refusing to leave.

Gloria Alden said...

I don't outline, but I make a brief synopsis about what the book will be about, write the names of new characters and returning characters that will be in the book. Where I'm having trouble now - and usually do - is how to expose the murderer of the victim. It's easy enough to know why the murderer kills his/her victim, but having him discovered usually has me stumped for awhile. I send each chapter to my Guppy critique partners for editing as well as to a local writer friend, so I do my editing after I get their catches or comments. When I reformat the book into the size it will be published in, that's when I do my major edits.

Linda Rodriguez said...

I like to blast through the first draft, but I usually warm up in the morning by re-reading what I wrote the day before and revising it, and then syncing smoothly into the day's work. Usually at the end of a book, I'm really on a roll and pouring out the words on paper with little editing of the day before's work. But on the one I'm writing at the moment, outside circumstances are forcing me to just barely squeeze out minimum word counts, even though I'm at the very end. I just can't carve out enough time to allow the big fast push at the end.

KM Rockwood said...

Usually I think I have a good handle on the whole story before I begin, but then as I go on, I see how little I actually know. Once I got all the way to the last chapter of a mystery (first draft) and realized as I wrote the ending, that I'd been wrong all along about who the murderer was.

Right now, I'm trying to get my latest WIP ready to go. I thought I was almost finished when I came to the conclusion that I had left out a major component--a small dog.

I do find one really helpful thing is to have my laptop read me a chapter as I follow along on either a desk top or hard copy. I highlight things that don't sit well on my ear, so to speak, and go back to take another look at them.

Sarah Henning said...

I always find these types of answers so interesting because everyone is so different! This is just proof positive (yet again) that there's reason to do it a certain way because someone famous does it that way or whatever. Do what works for you and it'll be right in the end!

Denise Rodgers said...

I'm slow at the beginning until I get into the flow of the story. Then I'm fast, almost through the end. I do a very rough outline. Extremely rough. I know how the story ends (or at least I think I do) before I begin writing. I do a lot of background writing that will never reach the reader's eyes before I ever get to page one. So once I'm actually writing, I'm watching my characters react to whatever I've thrown at them. So it all moves swimmingly. However... once I'm done, I also go through exhaustive re-reading and re-writing 'before' I ever give the story to a beta reader. The word "exhaustive" is accurate. It's exhausting!!! In fact, I'm still trying to get over the whole editing process; it seems to turn on the annoying perfectionist in me.