Jennifer Hillier

Love ‘n hate

Jan 5, 2010 | Uncategorized

Some people write really really really fast.

Others write reaaaaaaallllllllly slooooooooow.

I’m somewhere in between.

On this writer’s forum I belong to, there’s someone whose New Year’s Resolution is to write four novels this year.  FOUR.  Full-length.  NOVELS.  It would be laughable… if she hadn’t written FIVE last year.  Including edits.  Each one averaging about 90,000 words in length.

Then there’s the guy who’s been writing the same novel for six years.

I’d be lucky to write one book a year. It took me fourteen months to write Creep and I felt like I wrote it really really really fast.

Magnolia, on the other hand, is going verrrrrrrry sloooooooowly.  I’m not sure why.  I’m not sure why this novel isn’t vomiting itself out the way the first two did.

But the quality of my writing, dare I say it, is stronger in this work.  It’s got voice.  It’s got texture.  I’m only a third of the way through and I can see layers forming.  Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to write this one fast.  Maybe it’s simply not the kind of the story that can withstand major fixes later on.  Maybe it’s got to harmonize from the get-go.

I’ve decided to amend my usual quota of 1,000 edited words per day and dial down to 500 well-crafted words a day.  For Magnolia, coming up with 1,000 words every day is torture (for Creep, it was like breathing). I end up forcing myself to pad the pages and what comes out ain’t pretty.  I can imagine most of it will be cut later if I keep going like this.  I think it’s smarter to focus on writing two tight pages, rather than four sloppy ones.  Not to mention it would be a lot less pressure every morning if I wake up knowing my goal is a very achievable 500 words as opposed to a more daunting 1,000. It’s worth a try, anyway.

Since I write Monday through Friday (hey, even unpublished writers need weekends off!), I should be finished the first draft of Magnolia by the end of July.  Yikes, that seems so far away.  But it might very well be a better first draft than what I’m used to.  Subsequent drafts might be less painful, and maybe I won’t need six rewrites to get it query-ready.

Plus I’m still trying to reconcile my love-hate feelings towards this book.  I loved writing my first two novels, even if the first turned out to be shit. This one, though, has been painful every step of the way.  I wake up every morning dreading my writing session and doing everything I can to procrastinate.  Honestly, I’m kind of hating writing this book.

But yet, when I read back what I’ve got so far, it’s pure love.  It sparks.

Such a moody bitch, this writing thing.