2010 was the year of Dean Wesley Smith disciplery. I with both relish and zest followed Dean's advice on speed: i.e., I agreed with Dean's thesis that the statement "writing slowly = writing well" is nought but a myth, and, therefore, permitted myself a furious pace of composition, editing, and submission.
This was an incredibly important development in my work as a writer. In particular, it broke my fear: the fear that I could not finish a story, or several stories, and submit them to serious 'zines and editors. Dean's "Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing" radicalized the way I wrote, and from June to December - the period during which I was a Deansciple - I think I must have written two or three hundred thousand words at least.
It allowed me, in effect, confidence; it is what made me a writer.
However, lately, I've been unsatisfied with some of my production: I frequently rush the endings of my stories, cobbling them together, assuaging my worries by telling myself, "writing quickly does not mean writing poorly." But, despite the axioms - and despite my continued theoretical agreement with Dean's theory - I was still worried.
Worried, in short, that - in practice in general, and my practice in particular - the theory might be subject to disproval.
Then, Alex Kane pointed me toward Christie Yant's (Assistant Editor at Lightspeed Magazine) blog post at Inkpunks, "Lessons From the Slushpile: Good vs. Great." What struck me in particular was this passage:
"We see so many stories where if the author had taken a little more time, taken a step back from it, come back with fresh eyes and put in what was missing, it would have made all the difference. As writers, we're in such a hurry to get it out the door that we get it to Pretty Good and submit. Pretty Good isn't good enough."
And this struck me particularly because getting it to Pretty Good is exactly what I do, basically all the time.
|I want to share my flavours with you.|
But no longer! I've started taking more time with my writing: sweet-talking it, buying it gifts. And the payoffs? Nice. I just finished one of the tightest, emotionally-heaviest stories I've ever written. And another story I wrote, filled with great ideas but burdened - like many of my tales - with a poor denouément, has received the boon of considered-revaluation, and thus its plot and character arcs have been renewed. All that remains is rewrite two-thirds of it.
I still don't think speed and quality correlate directly. Some of my best stories were written very quickly. But, due in particular to my "end-of-story-stylistic-narrativistic-and-creative-depression," far too many of my stories have gone down the gutter or will end up in the trunk, because I didn't pull back and take the time to consider a better finale.