Monday, March 21, 2011

Hi, I'm an Underwriter

Announcement: Two of my blog buddies have started up a site called Hidden Truths! They're fantastic bloggers and looking for our support! Run over and learn all about their novel Fantum and the awesome blog they've created!

I'm also elated to announce that I hit the 1200 follower mark! So thank you to all who find me interesting... you are loved!

Back to the program. Hello! I hope your side of the world (wherever that may be) is gorgeous, sunny, and fabulous today!

So I'm curious as to what my fellow writers have to say on the topic of overwriting or underwriting. Consider this Writer's Anonymous (okay so if you're anonymous you can't post so I'll know who you are, but you get the idea).

I've known from the get go that I'm an underwriter (how do you know?) well that's the easy part, I skip. I skip a lot.

You see when I'm writing a novel I'm a panster (who normally is pantless while writing - just a tid bit about me). I write like a maniac, I am weird, I can write 6-10,000 words in one sitting if I'm feeling it.

That being said I also have a tendency to jump scenes. I love to write my story in correct order, chapter by chapter, in line. When a new scene pops into my head I'll add notes like:

Becky drops Edward turns out she hates vampires

And then pick up where the scene that overrode my thought process would sit. It's not ideal but for me it's perfect because I can add that scene later, the movie is just moving far too fast for me to waste time with little scenes.

I received a revise & resubmit from a publishing house and they had said to no longer focus on the word count since I'm a natural underwriter. They didn't know that about me before hand but I was relieved when they had told me to let it all go. This allows me to work at my own pace and fill in my own blanks. After all, I knew what was missing.

So, what are you?

58 comments:

Lindsay N. Currie said...

Thanks for the shout out for the new site and for FATUM!!! You're just lovely:)

Lo said...

whoo hoo! fingers crossed for the revise & resubmit! One step closer to publication :-) ... I'm definitely, definitely an underwriter. That being said, you leave me in the dust writing 6-10,000 words in a sitting!

Bish Denham said...

I'm probably an underwrite. Hey...I saw you're going to be brave and put your query up over on Matt's blog, The Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment. You go girl!

Amy Saia said...

Congrats on the followers, and congrats on the news from the publisher. I think it's wonderful they pointed out your talent so you can relax and work. I'm a little envious with you being able to pop out so many words at a sitting! Holy cow, Jen!

Laura Pauling said...

I am a complete and total underwriter. My revision process is adding in details, expanding setting or putting it in, expanding emotion and internal thoughts, showing more. Yeah, that's me.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I definitely need the outline, but I'm an underwriter. I don't skip scenes, but I skip details. I almost envy those who have to go back and slash words - I have to go back and add. A lot!

Sarah said...

I came over from Matt's blog--looking forward to reading your query! I haven't really thought about this over/underwriting thing. I do usually write elaborately long pivotal scenes and steer away from stringing together a lot of detail-oriented shorter ones, though.

Suzie F. said...

Great post, Jen. Another underwriter here. Instead of getting bogged down on the details of a particular scene, I'll leave notes for later so that I can move the story along.

Congrats on reaching 1200 followers!

li said...

Congrats on your following! We love you :)
I'm an overwriter, which is why I jumped into flash; to practice eliminating fluff and long descriptive paragraphs and get down to the bones of writing.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

Good luck with your revise and resubmit! :)

salarsenッ said...

Originally I was an overwriter. But I'm learning to scale back, especially during the first draft. Good luck on the revisions!

Diana Mieczan said...

Oh, darlings fingers crossed for the revise and resubmit. How exciting and also congrats on the 1200 followers..That is huge! Happy Monday sunshine
Muah

Matthew MacNish said...

It should be pretty well known by now that I overwrite. As in hundreds of thousands of too many words. Yeah. I'm working on it.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm an underwriter, no doubt about it. I'm wishing you a lot of luck with your revision :)

Christine Danek said...

I started out as an overwriter and now think I may be an underwriter. I have to get to be a middlewriter or just balanced. :) Congrats on 1200.

Erica Mitchell-Spickard said...

Congrats on both the followers and the freedom to be a pantser with the publisher :)

No, I am not at all an underwriter. I write, revise, write, revise. That doesn't mean the words don't just flow but for me it's just how my brain works. I have to keep my plot on point or if it takes a detour it has to be logical and my artistic brain tries to wiggle it's way in and bamboozle my plot too often and I need a tighter grip. Recovering Pantser ;)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

LOL I was there this morning (or last night), critting their entry for the blogfest.

I'm an underwriter when it comes to the first draft, especially when it comes to setting. But I do overwrite on other elements. I'm a yo-yo writer. :D

Jan Markley said...

I tend to underwrite and then have to go back and stretch out scenes. I'm not a fan of overwriting - lots of unnecessary detail and characters that are introduced and you never see them again and they have no reason to be there.

LynnRush said...

I'm with you, girl. I can pound out 6-10k in a sitting as well if I'm feeling it. It's such a rush to sit down in front of the computer and just write. And write. And write.

Great post!!

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss jen! for sure im a underwriter. i stick stuff in red print that i could wanna go back and do more later. wowee you got more then 1200 followers. wheres the contest? ha ha!
...big hugs from lenny

Vivi said...

Wow, good luck with your revisions!!! I'm a total overwriter. Funny thing is I don't bang out a lot in one sitting, but when you put all my little sessions together it makes for one looooong winded story. I always know I'm going to have to hack the crap out of my books when I'm done with the first draft.

Madeleine said...

Wow 1200 followers that is awesome! I tend to underwrite and then stat trying to add some structure to what I'm doing :O)

Katie Mills said...

I think with my last book I found a fair balance. My first book, however, was overwritten big time. My second was underwritten. I think eventually you correct some of the bigger mistakes and find your pace.

Catherine Denton said...

You're just too awesome for us to resist following. You're like a fun magnet! And *mumbles* I'm a definite underwriter. Glad to see others are too!
My Blog

Angie Ledbetter said...

Writerly Attention Deficit Disorder (WADD) comes in handy when ya wanna keep the writing fires lit on several projects at once. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Oh, girl, we are writing sisters. I am an underwriting pantser too!! In fact, this post could be about MY writing style. LOL. :-)

Elena Solodow said...

Congrats on the revise & resubmit! Let me know if you need any help...

I used to be a tremendous overwriter, then to compensate turned into an underwriter (lack of description mostly), now I'm finally hitting a good balance on Novel #4. We'll see how it goes!

Kerri Cuev said...

Hi Jen! Nice to meet you, just came from Matt's blog!

I'm an underwriters too. I just get so excited, just can't help myself lol.

Paul Joseph said...

Hi, Jen. Just hopped over from Matt's blog.

Believe it or not, I'd say I'm both. Like you, I skip scenes. If something doesn't strike me as being relevant to the plot, I prefer to just skip to the next part that actually matters.

However, when looking at the individual scenes, I overwrite. My chapters have way too many words, and way too many details. It's overwhelming.

Kristi Helvig said...

Congrats on the revise and resubmit! I'm a total underwriter but like the room that leaves me when revising--I've never had to worry about word count. :)

E. Elle said...

I'm definitely an overwriter. I hesitate to move forward until I'm completely sure the scene is through. This usually means the scene is a lot longer than necessary. My work is A LOT shorter after revision than when it started. But at least I'm sure I have everything I need; then it's just trimming the edges.

Excited for your revise and resubmit!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I'm probably more of an underwriter.

Saw you're going on Matt's blog - looking forward to it!

Arlee Bird said...

I am similar to you in jumping about and writing short little notes in the manuscript and then moving on. I tend to be an underwtiter when it comes to certain descriptions, but overall I think I have an inclination to overwrite--like I often do in my blog comments.

Lee
Tossing It Out

Tiana Smith said...

Definitely an underwriter. I ALWAYS have to go back and add a ton after I "finish" my first draft. My first draft is really my zero draft in that sense.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Good luck with the revise and resubmit! What a great step toward publication.

I'm a major underwriter and for a long time I thought it was just me. There are so many articles and blog posts out there explaining how to cut words that I was certain no one else had to add.

I can bang out 5,000 words in a sitting but my first drafts usually have little setting and inner thoughts. I always have to go back and add them in the first revisions.

Jessica Bell said...

Wow Jen! Good luck with that, honey! :o)

Abby Minard said...

I think I overwrite. According to my crit partners, I like to repeat info ;p I don't do it on purpose, so that is something I have to catch a lot.

Deirdra Eden-Coppel said...

I love your site and as I browsed your blog I decided to award you the Magical Blog Award.

Go to http://astorybookworld.blogspot.com/p/awards.html and pick up your award.

~Deirdra

Jennifer Hillier said...

Congrats on 1200 followers! You ROCK!

I'm both an underwriter and an overwriter. I underwrite first drafts. I overwrite during the second draft. I clean it all up in the third.

It's a long process... you'd think I'd learn to get it right the first time!

J. L. Jackson said...

I'm an Underwriter, too.

Talli Roland said...

Definitely an underwriter. I think it comes from my journalistic bckground - I'm always in such a hurry to get things out that I leave stuff out!

Elizabeth Briggs said...

Yay for revise and resubmit! I'm an underwriter too, but tend to overcompensate on draft 2 and then have to pare back again.

Jessica Hill said...

I'm definitely an underwriter, too. I skip like you do - scenes, description, whatever. I always have tons of stuff to go back and add later.

Michelle Merrill said...

First of all, not all of us can live in a beautiful warm sunny place...but thanks for sending the rays my way! I do a little of both. Sometimes I skip and other times I put way too much attention. Thank goodness for revisions, right? :)

Angela Felsted said...

Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is an underwriter? It isn't like an underwearer, is it?

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm both. I'm like a bi-polar writer.lol

Congrats on all the followers and on your revise/resubmit!!!

Donna Hole said...

I over-write. Purposely. I like to get in all the details, then determine what isn't needed after the story is all done.

Lately I've focused on short stories, and that stunted word count causes me to underwrite.

Adding to a story is so much harder than deleting.

.......dhole

Sara McClung ♥ said...

Is it weird that I'm both? I think it really depends on the scene I'm writing. And whether or not it's one of those days where I'm FORCING myself to write. I'm more of an underwriter on those days :)

ali said...

Yep, me too! Cutting words is never the issue with me. It's build it up, baby!

And congrats on the awesome feedback! Go Jen go!

Jemi Fraser said...

I used to WAY overwrite - then I underwrote by a bunch - now I'm ... confused??? looking for that balance :)

The Words Crafter said...

Grats on the 1200, wow!!!

I think I may be an underwriter...in my brain. That's where a lot of it takes place before it gets on screen/paper.

Interesting. I didn't know about underwriting before!

Meredith said...

I am such an underwriter! I hardly ever add description in my first drafts, so my most frequent note in the margins as I revise (besides "WTF?" of course) is "MORE." Sigh.

Donna Weaver said...

I bit the bullet and signed up for A to Z. That's thing's so much bigger than the 300 hoped for.

http://weavingataleortwo.blogspot.com/

LTM said...

I think I started as an overwriter, and then I overcorrected... LOL! :D Now I underwrite.

I'm actually working very hard to write just enough.

sigh. Saw you at Matt's... Yay!!! :D <3 ((squeeze))

Vicki Rocho said...

I think I overwrite in the name of maintaining the time line. I write the in-between bits knowing full well I'm going to delete them later. Really gotta quit doing that.

Melissa said...

Definite underwriter. But I AM working on it!!!

csdaley said...

Congrats on all the followers. I am jealous. I recently blew up my blog and moved to a new site. Sadly all my followers have not followed. Feels like I am starting over.

As for writing. I am very methodical. I go chapter by chapter. Working one problem and then moving on. If I think of an ideal I put it in my notes and get to it later.

I wouldn't say I underwrite but I do tend to add more in edits than I subtract.

Her highness, Samantha Vérant said...

I do a bit of both. I write a very disorganized outline---when I'm not wearing pants, of course. It works wonders! Hey, awesome on the R&R...