A to Z Challenge 2013 – Q is for…



When you have a word count target to reach within a short timeframe, you’re taught that you need to get those words out now and worry about editing later. In theory, this makes sense. I reached my targets in half the allotted time: an extra (and slightly masochistic) challenge I gave myself this writing month. I wrote eighty thousand words for two different novels in fifteen days and I am proud of this accomplishment. This feat was in addition to my daily blog challenge and other writerly obligations, the details of which you can get a refresher here.

In the two weeks left in April, I can easily continue with those stories because they are far from over but I want to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve written so far. I’ve tried to make each moment count in my stories. Besides, after slogging away at the keyboard for a month, do I really want to drown myself in extensive editing that I could have otherwise avoided had I put more thought into the drafting process?

This is why quality over quantity is so important. And I will keep this in mind for the latter half of this writing month. I still have letters R through Z for the blogging challenge and there are a couple of short story anthology submissions due at the end of the month that have caught my eye. When it is so easy to produce first draft vomit, do you choose to get out the words that matter or the words that hardly matter, at all?

What are your thoughts on the whole quality versus quantity debate?


Today’s theme is brought to you by the letter


5 thoughts on “A to Z Challenge 2013 – Q is for…

  1. Great post. I know with my first NaNo, the focus was hitting the quantity (and in my opinion, the quality of that first piece was among my worst). This time around, trying to improve on the quality, hoping to make the quantity.

  2. Quantity versus quality – if I have to choose in a *first* draft, then I’m always going to pick quantity. I thought for years this was a terrible idea. Not quality? I hear the gasps already.

    The truth of the matter – first drafts aren’t important in regard to what they actually say. They’re like rough outlines within any subconscious thought blocking rigidity. You are just dancing with the muse on the page, finding the voice of the story, not actually capturing its finished form. You’re never wasting time writing any amount of vomit in a draft because during the revision process (during a good revision process like Holly Lisle’s one-pass revision) you’re getting the benefit of your big picture view of what you wanted versus what is actually written. Drafting seems like it is about the writing, but it is actually about what is going on beyond the fingers on the keyboard or the pen dragging across the page.

    I speak from the perspective of typing like mad and then committing to every word (no backspace here) being a typo and allowing myself to make constant mistakes that even someone who couldn’t read wouldn’t make. And in the revision process, that’s okay. It is fine – it doesn’t create extra work for me. By allowing words to flow completely free. I mean no blocks, no boundaries I am so much better prepared to revise because my subconscious mind has had time to find the heart of the story and what I really want it to be.

    Before I start the free flowing writing, I have a very specific process of developing only critical details…my motto is as little as I need to get going, and go.

    Just my two cents on the topic. I’m a big proponent of the Holly Lisle train of thought (I own all of her courses and am working through them now).

  3. And I shall take your two cents and cherish them, especially since the pennies are now collector’s items. ;-D I fall somewhere in the middle, depending on the day. Sometimes the words flow like my 9.5K day. Other days are like oral surgery and it takes bribery and a swift kick in the shins to get a measly 1.5K. Ideally, however, I strive for quality whenever I can because I don’t usually have the luxury of editing time. Heck, I barely have time for drafting. LOL

    I, too, have pretty much all things Holly. Great resources at her site. 🙂

  4. Hello! This is a great post. I think finishing what you right is more important than quality. Many writers focus so hard on the quality, getting it right the first time, that they never finish anything. That’s why i write by hand first. I get everything out on the page, then when I transfer it to the computer I edit as I go along. That way, my finished first draft has already been through at list one minor revision, and the following revisions are never as painful!

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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