In trying not to overwrite, I’m finally learning why I do overwrite. One reason, which I already knew is, outlines can only get you so far. The truth is, I hate outlines, and would never use them in the first draft of an original story. But I need them in a fanfic WIP just to keep myself organized. And yet, I can outline until the cows come home, but when I start to write, I will always think of ten things I need to have in the story but didn’t think of during the outline. So the story starts to expand beyond what I initially imagined it would
(Naturally, there will likewise be five things in the outline that just aren’t going to work, but they usually aren’t cut, they’re replaced with something else which serves the function they were going to serve in the story)
And then, of course, when I do start writing, I hate a lot of what comes out initially. It’s just not what I had in mind, but I can’t get what needs to be there down on the page. So I have to keep writing and writing and discarding and saving in a “maybe” file all sorts of stuff before the words start to come out right.
But in the end, overwriting (writing 20,000 words when the story’s supposed to be 14,000) isn’t about all the junk I have to write first and discard to get to the good stuff. In the end, the reason the 20,000 is a problem is that I’m past the junk and writing Good Stuff, and it’s 20,000 words of good stuff (or OK stuff, or decent stuff), and 6,000 of it has got to go (for tightness’ sake, for consistency’s sake).
No TD 208 word count this morning, I’m in flux–half-text, half-outline, none of it absolutely certain to end up in the final draft. People who start with a zero word count and just keep adding to it until they’re done befuddle the hell out of me.