Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Write Short, Edit Long

Today I'm sharing a bit about my writing method, otherwise known as writing short and editing long.  
Simply put.. my mind is faster than my fingers when it comes to typing out my thoughts for a scene. It's a problem I've had since I started writing. In fact, as a child I could read extremely fast in silence, versus when I was forced to read aloud. I stumbled over words aloud because I'd read the entire sentence before my mouth could get all the words out.
I've tried a hand held recorder, but just couldn't get all the details I envisioned and still move the scene along. Therefore, I decided on the method of writing short and editing long.
Most writers write long and edit a story down shorter. They delete unnecessary things from their books. This isn't a method I'm capable of. I wish I could do a 200K word story and edit it down. Nope, I'm a bit backwards in my writing method.
Writing short means writing as fast and as much as you can, but still moving the scene along. If I need details of a bed, unless it's immediately critical to the story, like the hero is about to tie the heroine to the bedposts, I don't add details of the bed. My only goal is to move the story forward, one scene after another.
Editing is where I do my magic. When I have a finished story or nearly finished, I'm ready for more details. I go paragraph by paragraph and add in whatever details I feel are missing. Sometimes it's internal thoughts, other times it's physical details. I can better immerse myself in the moment, when I'm no longer concerned about finishing a story. I add those special details, tighten up my writing by using strong verbs, and overall improve the story.
This is an odd method, I know, but for me it works like a gem. I used to feel terrible about not being able to write the same long way as others, but that's not a reasonable way to feel. I'm my own person and have to follow my own path and method.
Writing is about the enjoyment of immersing yourself in a book, its characters, and the romance. I don't ever want to lose that magic, so even if I'm a bit backwards, I'll follow my heart and write the way that works for me.


  1. I have the same method/problem. I write in brief, however, I'm not very good at editing long, either. So more often I'll look for places to write something new. A scene that could fill out a character. Another opportunity for hot sex. ;) You get the idea. I'm a flash fiction writer as well, so I practice writing short quite regularly.

    Great post.

    1. I've added scenes before,and if it can be a hot sex scene then all the better. :) For me editing long is just adding those small details that I needed but didn't see when I first wrote the scene.

      Cheers to us both for being just a little bit different!

  2. My goodness Mary...It's like you studied MY writing methods and then applied them to your style!! I especially understand the reading out loud part...

    Great posting!

  3. I do the same thing. I had beta readers say I needed more description and I think it turned out better when I added in more description and detail. I think we're hit so often with "cut out extra words" that we forget sometimes those words are needed / wanted.

  4. Good to know there are others like me out there. I too write this way. Thanks for sharing!

  5. How wonderful to find out there are more people that write like me than I orginally believed.

    Thank you; Ivy, Tiffany, and Erotica for the comments. It's great to know we aren't alone. :)