Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Q is for Quality vs Quantity

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I'm a perfectionist. It took me forever to write my first novel (and I'm not talking about the practice ones and half started ones that I have lying around on my hard drive somewhere). It took me around 4 years, but that was with researching (yeah, mine's a vamp novel but I researched my butt off), world creation, character creation and writing... I just had to get everything perfect.

For my new story, I've learnt my lesson and I've actually given myself some goals that I'm aiming to meet. This is where quantity vs quality comes into play. As writers, it's the quality of work that people take notice of. But, writers also need to keep busy and always be working on another project.

How does one balance the quality vs quantity dilemma?

  1. revise, revise, revise... put that manuscript away for a month and come back with fresh eyes.
  2. get yourself beta readers/critique group (they're invaluable).
  3. set goals. Have that date set that you need to have the first draft finished by.
  4. always have another project to start working on as soon as you write "THE END".
  5. HAVE FUN... you'll never get anywhere if you don't enjoy what you write.

So, do you focus on quality or quantity in the first draft? Do you do anything to make sure you have both quality and quantity?

9 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm a slow writer (unless I'm coming close to THE END), so I don't focus on quantity. I write what I can, and am happy with whatever that is. I do try to get quality in, but not at the risk of stopping every few minutes to edit what I just wrote. I just spend more time deliberating each word (even though it will no doubt be edited for several more drafts). Seems to work for me. I wrote my first draft for my current novel in about 6 weeks, and it won't need as many drafts as my previous one's did.

Yay, I do all five of your points. :D

lbdiamond said...

I posted on this topic today too!

I love the points you outlined here.

Jen Chandler said...

Hey Cheree!

Thanks so much for commenting on my blog during the A-Z challenge. Congrats on continuing! It's a huge undertaking, and one I had to drop out of this year. I'm seriously impressed with those still posting!

I'm very slow at getting a completed draft. I'm meticulous about my story and I'm very hard to please. I think that's a good thing, in some respects, but I tend to take waaaay too long in nailing things down and getting the darn thing written!

Have an awesome week!
Cheers!
Jen

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

First draft I worry about neither, but eventually the perfectionist in me takes over.

Kate Larkindale said...

I used to take forever to write because I constantly went back to edit as I wrote. Then I did NaNo and discovered how liberating it is to just write with abandon and get the story down.

Then, a couple of months later, I went back to it, rewrote the whole thing from scratch using the NaNo draft as a guideline. And it works!

Of course, my new 'finished' draft is still in the critique stage, but I think I ought to have a query-ready MS by July. Much shorter timeframe than the 25 years it took to get my first book up to snuff...

Kate Larkindale said...

I used to take forever to write because I constantly went back to edit as I wrote. Then I did NaNo and discovered how liberating it is to just write with abandon and get the story down.

Then, a couple of months later, I went back to it, rewrote the whole thing from scratch using the NaNo draft as a guideline. And it works!

Of course, my new 'finished' draft is still in the critique stage, but I think I ought to have a query-ready MS by July. Much shorter timeframe than the 25 years it took to get my first book up to snuff...

Tessa Conte said...

Good question. I'm not actually sure I'm balancing anything... o.O

ali said...

I love having another project to pick up when I'm ready to send my baby out into Queryland! Helps me deal with the whole "letting go" process.

Ellie said...

Awesome advise. I'm writing my first novel at the moment and it's slow work. Like you, I'm doing a lot of research!

Ellie Garratt

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