1. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    I don't like James Bond, but

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Patrick94, Mar 26, 2011.

    Ian Fleming, allegedly the author of the James Bond stuff:

    I write for about three hours in the morning - from about 9:30 till 12:30and I do another hour's work between six and seven in the evening. At the end of this I reward myself by numbering the pages and putting them away in a spring-back folder. The whole of this four hours of daily work is devoted to writing narrative.

    I never correct anything and I never go back to what I have written, except to the foot of the last page to see where I have got to. If you once look back, you are lost. How could you have written this drivel? How could you have used "terrible" six times on one page? And so forth. If you interrupt the writing of fast narrative with too much introspection and self-criticism, you will be lucky if you write 500 words a day and you will be disgusted with them into the bargain. By following my formula, you write 2,000 words a day and you aren't disgusted with them until the book is finished, which will be in about six weeks.

    I don't even pause from writing to choose the right word or to verify spelling or a fact. All this can be done when your book is finished.

    When my book is completed I spend about a week going through it and correcting the most glaring errors and rewriting passages. I then have it properly typed with chapter headings and all the rest of the trimmings. I then go through it again, have the worst pages retyped and send it off to my publisher.


    Crazy, huh?
     
  2. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    It's a brilliant dedication. It's something I know I have to learn to adopt myself.
     
  3. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    I was thinking more along the lines that he doesn't proof read anything til he's finished
     
  4. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    It's a method that worked for him. But different writers use different methods. There is no "one size fits all" in writing fiction. What works for one writer may be the opposite of what works for another writer.
     
  5. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    He's 'possessed' by the muse and compelled to just write.
    He's like in a trance ... and I get this.
    Kinda like throwing-up; you don't ask, "how do I vomit this nicely" --you just spew it out. (Then review and clean it up later).

    P.S.
    Why don't you like James ('the man') Bond? :)


    -------------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    His grammar and spelling were good anyway, since he went to Eton and had a hugely privileged background, and he was also trained in writing up concise military intelligence reports. Not everyone is so lucky.
     
  7. abelsaywell
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    abelsaywell Member

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    The amount of time Fleming would spend writing each day is similar to that of Roald Dahl. Dahl though supposedly complained that he never found that writing came easy to him and he would work slowly but regularly.

    I think maybe the two approaches are a case of, "horses for courses" but when looking at the variety in output of one over the other... well to mix metaphors: the hare and the tortoise, maybe.
     
  8. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Actually I don't think it sounds so crazy. It sounds like what a lot of people on here preach, including myself. When writing the rough draft, don't revise. Keep going until it's done. Revision is for the revision phase.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    If I keep going until something is done I usually find there is far more work involved sorting the work out. I end up rewriting so much I might as well have done it more slowly in the first place.
     
  10. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    I couldn't work like this. I don't just replace a word if I repeat it too much, I adjust the entire flow of two paragraphs to either side of it.

    Someone hated my MC and it she could cope with it until about 2,000 words in, but I decided to start from the beginning. (Some things were bugging me before that.) I've gotten a bit stuck, but there's no telling how much of the story will survive to get pasted back in.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is exactly the way I write - I am even crazier i generally never look at my first draft again, I completely rewrite it also never looking back until i finished. Then if it is feeling like the story is right then I edit it - if not I rewrite it again. I feel if I look back I will turn into a pillar of salt or something equally nasty.

    I write faster than him though - do about 5-6000 words a day and can write a draft of a novel in 20 days. (75-80K words) - however he was probably typewriter or pen and ink.

    Ultimately the quality of the first draft only really matters to the writer and I guess it is what you can cope with. It is the finished product that counts every writer has their way of approaching it.
     
  12. Alex A.
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    Alex A. Member

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    You make a good point. With the computer we can easily select and delete. A typewriter or pen and ink would be a pain in the ass, no wonder he didn't look back.
     
  13. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I still don't look back though. It is much easier to delete, reorder, change, tweak until I get the story right when I haven't invested hours on each word.

    When it is only a week to replace 25-35K it is a lot easier to delete them to work in even minor changes than it would be if I spent a year on getting the same amount written perfectly. I deleted 30K words once just to change the colour of the falcon my king changed into - my little brown peregrine falcon became the Great White Falcon - deleting it allowed me to change the scenary to allow it to work better in it's background, the symbolism of the bird increased and my book became deeper. If I had spend hours lovingly revising the words I probably would have just changed the falcon's colour.

    One of my biggest bugbears as a reader is when I can tell a story has been 'patched' and an idea has come to the author later and it has been shoehorned in. I am OCD about my stories flowing seamlessly and that can take several major deletes as new ideas arrive.
     
  14. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Ah, I forgot about good old pen and ink. With a notebook, I'll usually just puke on the page and then type it in without looking at it.

    I do have a few fanfics where I admit to not changing anything from notebook to web. They are usually drabbles though. I find that the medium influences the pacing of the story. (I hate the story I composed on my palm pilot... each sentence was 3-4 lines, and I couldn't adjust the story afterward to look good on a larger screen.)
     
  15. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    many writers write that way... it's all a matter of what works best for each individual... and nothing's 'crazy' if it works...
     

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