What’s Your Writing Style?

Here I sit in the midst of writing my third book, SNOW ANGEL, my second fiction novel and sequel to FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST.  Trust me, with all the rest of life that takes so much time, this has been a challenge. 

Writers are taught not to edit as you write and that is a difficult habit for me to break.  I try to write from 1000 to 2000 words every day.  I print out what I’ve written. I read it. I edit it.  I go back and make corrections.

Yesterday, a seasoned writer friend of mine told me to just write the book and then go back and highlight and polish it later. His point being this saves a lot of time, which it does.  He just spent what he calls a grueling week doing that on his next book which will be somewhere around #71. Obviously, he has a lot of good advice to share. I still wonder how he knew what I was doing.

I do not write from an actual outline, but have it in my head.  However, when writing a sequel, a little spiral notebook is essential because you have to remember what/where/how/when that’s in the first book.  Another thing that absolutely needs to be noted are dates. Otherwise, things can grow rather mucky quickly.  It has taken me six years to learn these things in a manner that makes me believe them.  

One recent day, my computer suddenly announced:  “An error has occurred and Windows is trying to recover your work.  This may take a few minutes.”  As I watched the contantly revolving circle on an otherwise blank monitor, I paced the floor like an expectant father whose wife is in the delivery room and he isn’t.  Windows recovered it.  It did take a few minutes.  I save my manuscript every single time I exit it and I probably over do it.  I save it to Word.  I save it to desk top.  I save it to my external hard drive.  But I have 40,000 words and 37 chapters written and don’t want to start over.

Computers are wonderful when they are working like a well-oiled machine, but when they falter in the middle of some block of large work, it’s terrifying.

So, if you have any additional tips for me, I am very anxious to hear them and you can leave them in the comments below, e-mail them to me or leave them on Facebook.

Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

Author Jackie Taylor Zortman

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About jtzortman

Author of "WE ARE DIFFERENT NOW" - A Grandparent's Journey Through Grief and first place award winning novel "FOOTPRINTS IN THE FROST". Contributing author to anthologies "Felons, Flames & Ambulance Rides", "American Blue", "Recipes by the Book: Oak Tree Authors Cook" and "The Centennial Book of The National Society of Daughters of the Union 1861-1865". Numerous articles, poems and short stories published since 1990. Charter Member of the Public Safety Writers Association and member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Winner of ten writing awards. I live in a quaint Colorado mountain tourist town with my husband and Siamese cat. When deeps snows blanket the terrain and spectacular views from my windows, it becomes the perfect spot in which to write.
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6 Responses to What’s Your Writing Style?

  1. I agree with your friend. Write your book and then edit it, slowly word by word. I have written and published 8 books so far and I am presently working on three more. In regards to saving your work, I save what I am doing, depending on how many words I have typed and the content of those words, every 15 minutes or so. It does not hurt anything to do that.

    • jtzortman says:

      Good advice, Richard. I don’t know how you write three books at the same time. One is enough to send me to the chiropractor after about three full days on the computer. It’s good to have a second opinion on how best to proceed, so thanks for your input.

  2. Hurray for you! Sounds like you write consistently which is incredibly difficult for most people. Keep doing what you’re doing is the only advice I can offer.

    • jtzortman says:

      Thanks, Thonie. I have been spurred on by the writer I mention in my post. He’s been a tremendous help and I’ve learned a lot of good things from him. I just checked my blog and found it had printed an earlier draft of what I actually posted. Hope it doesn’t change it again. I just corrected it.

  3. JL Greger says:

    I think rules are made to be broken. Everyone has their own style of writing and editing. Although the rule of “saving” frequently is a good one. Comcast shuts down frequently in New Mexico, and I lose material.

    • jtzortman says:

      So glad you think that way, Janet. I totally agree with you. Someone put a note on an entry of mine at PSWA that won first place (it was my Footprints book) and said to stop writing in the past tense. So, I’m trying to write the sequel in the present tense and my writing isn’t flowing smoothly and I have to go back and make a lot of changes. I just read that writing in the present tense is an old way of writing that is new again and isn’t necessary. Wish I’d known that before I started this book. So, from now on, I’m writing my way. It has won 9 awards, so it can’t be too bad.

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