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Jay Lake
Date: 2010-11-18 04:37
Subject: [process] Every time I think I understand my own writing...
Security: Public
Tags:books, conventions, kalimpura, process, writing
Kalimpura is cooking along. I wrote 7,800 words in three elapsed hours yesterday. That's averaging 2,600 words per hour. It was broken up over three distinct writing sessions. I managed 1,700 words in one half hour session.

I am looking at myself and saying, WTF?

It's been a truism of mine for a while, for some very good reasons, that my writing needs to slow down. I've worked on reducing my drafting speed and focusing more on the line level prose as well as the deep structure, to the degree that I can consciously control those on first draft.

This book is not behaving that way. And though it's impossible to tell with any validity from my place in the middle of the process, neither the prose quality nor the deep structure is suffering.

The best way I can think to explain it is to say this book really, really wants to get out. I don't feel like I'm rushing it. It's just moving fast. That is almost certainly in part due to the third book effect I've mentioned before. Likewise, I clearly have a lot of pent-up creativity in this, my post-chemo world. But still, I feel like I meant to turn on a hot plate and got a flaming gas jet instead.

In fact, this state of flow is fairly similar to what happens when I'm near the end of a book. Often I'll put on some pretty freakish bursts of speed and productivity as everything wraps on my head and needs to come tumbling out onto the page.

Today's a very busy day, then it's SteamCon weekend, so I'll be quite surprised if I manage to be more than minimally productive again before next Monday. Still, this is quite a ride. And one I decidedly do not understand.

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User: joycemocha
Date: 2010-11-18 14:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Perhaps Fred was working when you thought he was sleeping, back during chemo. You never know about these things....
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User: barbarienne
Date: 2010-11-18 14:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's averaging 2,600 words per hour.

-->I can't type that fast if I'm taking bloody dictation. (Well, okay, I can go more than 45wpm, but I would keep stopping because the words just don't dump from my brain that fast.)

From everything I've read from authors on the subject, it's clear that books don't all behave the same way, even from the same person.
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They Didn't Ask Me
User: dr_phil_physics
Date: 2010-11-18 15:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Ah, a new unit. The writing velocity has units of Lake/hour. 1 Lake/hour is a prodigious writing rate, good sir.

Dr. Phil
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User: cithra
Date: 2010-11-18 16:10 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My take: K has been percolating along all this time; you've been working on it without realizing you were working on it. I often find some mechanics of my writing improved if I take breaks and let a project sit on the back burner (as my much-revered English teacher Mrs. Blaisdale used to encourage me) for a while. Some of my ideas need to rest, like bread. Definitely, what joycemocha said...

Edited at 2010-11-18 04:12 pm (UTC)
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Chris McKitterick: typewriter monkey
User: mckitterick
Date: 2010-11-18 17:23 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:typewriter monkey
Wow, that is BLASTING along. But sometimes that just happens - though I wouldn't expect the whole book to fly by in just a few days ;-)

I blasted out 2100 words (of essay on the piracy of my book) in about an hour. Took a little time to clean it up and add links, but yeah. Sometimes that happens, when the fire is in your belly and the fingers won't shut up.
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