Friday, July 19, 2013

My Writing Process: To Be a Better Writer, You Have to Write More

I know, I know--not exactly a quotable quote.  But it's true nonetheless.  There are lots of tips and tools out there to help us all become better writers.  I get magazines full of them every month and the web has a seemingly never-ending supply of sites aimed at making better writers.  But all those tips in the world really boil down to one overriding idea: if you want to be a better writer, write as much as you can.  Practice, practice, practice.  

Let me back up a little, though.  If all I do as a writer is just pile word upon word and page upon page, I will become a highly prolific bad writer.  So I guess it should say, "To Be a Better Writer, You Have to Write More Reflectively."  If I think about what I've written and ask others to think about it and report their findings, the next time I sit down to write, I'll be better and more efficient.  And the more often I go through that reflective process, the faster I'll become better.  

What prompts this, possibly nonsensical, entry is what's happening as I write my second novel.  The editing process I went through with my first book is most definitely informing the writing of my second book.  I have a strong feeling the first draft of my second book will look a lot more like the final draft than the first draft of my first book did.  The amount of time I spend on description, the way I write dialogue, the general economy of my prose is so much better now as I write the initial draft of Kisses and Lies  than it was when I was drafting Harsh Prey, in which the final version ended up nearly 11,000 shorter than the first.  I'm sure there's going to be a need for editing and revising, but I am also sure they won't be as drastic and that will become more and more true with every book--as long as I reflect on my writing every time I do it.  Practice without reflection is useless.  Reflection without practice is equally useless.  

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