But this post is actually about taking your writing fast or slow.
So basically, I have been writing fast compared to the speed I used to write at (and would still write at if not for Write or Die). When I decided not to use Write or Die for my latest writing session, I realised something that I would like to share.
I'm sure most writers know this, but circumstances in the real world affect how you write your story world.
I think Chapter One kept tense most of the way through (I really hope it was). This wasn't really intended, and sort of came out with the choppiness of my scenes (which I have fixed), and the way it kept moving. I hadn't considered this, but I believe the way Write or Die was keeping me on toes -- I think it was keeping my characters on their toes. And from some of my critiquers' reactions, it kept them on their toes. Which, for the first chapter, is a good thing.
Chapter Two brings much of that tension down until the end of the chapter. Here we get to know characters a bit better: Their motivations; their feelings and memories of the past; how they feel about their place in the world. We meet a new character as well (Faine, and I believe he is much less conspicuous this time around -- just a good guy trying to help).
For my last writing session I opted against Write or Die, in favour of a slower approach. This seemed to work for me. My character was sitting in the cart, and I want the reader to feel, not the dullness, but the true feeling of being in moving cart for the best part of a day.
This was something I don't believe I could achieve with Write or Die, with a guy standing on my heels saying MOVE, MOVE, MOVE! That worked really well for Chapter One, where I wanted to keep the tension up, but when my character's sitting in a cart? No, I don't think so.
So, my suggestion is that when you want to keep the tension up, keep the action up. Keep things moving. And write fast. The conditions in which you are writing will come across within your writing.
If you are writing a slow or meaningful scene, I wouldn't suggest writing quickly. Consider how you can write the scene that would best translate the emotions to your reader, be it excitement, anxiousness, dullness or any other emotion. If your character is stalking a deer through the forest, stalk your words for the perfect sentence. If he is sitting in a cart, sit yourself in the cart. Would you be worrying about your sister's damning light all day in the cart, or would you stop worrying by the fifth hour?
Consider, consider, consider. Am I making you tense?
I think this post feels a little different than most of my others. It was not planned. I came across it when writing and thought, oh, I'll blog about that.
Now for a random excerpt, in which Eoin experiences pins and needles for the first time. Don't judge him. He has been in a cart for a thousand words.
He found himself daydreaming as the day wore on. He stared absently out the windows, barely noticing when the bland scenery changed from sky to trees. The sound of dirt under the cart’s wheels changed to the crunching of leaves and twigs. Little by little, the sun lowered, and Eoin was brought back to the world when the cart stopped. He blinked, and lights danced in front of his eyes. All the passengers were getting out of the cart.
“Come,” said Faine. “No one is allowed to sleep in the cart.” He laughed, and made his way out of the cart, ducking so as not to scrape the roof with his head. When Eoin stood, pain shot through his feet and he fell to the floor. It was like nothing he had ever experienced, a tingling pain that danced around the soles of his feet.
He saw Saera come to the open door. With narrowed eyes, she said, “What happened? The cart looked like it was about to collapse.”
Eoin told her.
“Are you still in pain?” she asked.
It seemed the tingling in Eoin’s feet had subsided. “No, not anymore.”
“Then hurry up and get out of there. They’re locking it up soon.