The Big Reveal

Welcome to The Big Reveal
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them.


Do you tend to over-write or under-write?

Mindi Scott, Published Author
I under-write. Extremely underwrite! Sometimes I’ll use brackets [insert clever scene here] when I’m too overwhelmed to deal with what should be in that place in the draft. I think my first draft of Live Through This was only around 30,000 words. It more than doubled by the time I was done revising it.

Steph Campbell, Published Author
I way under write. I get the bare bones story down and then go back and plump it up in edits, but I still feel like I write shorter books than a lot of other authors I know.

Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
I underwrite, always. I laugh and say I am writing a 20k outline. I write the bones and then fill in. It keeps me from having saggy middles. But there are problems with that method also, including having no setting to speak of 🙂

Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
Underwrite, for sure. I don’t ever remember cutting from a novel during revisions, only adding. I’m up to 4K more in my current ms than when I sent out my first draft to a CP, and the ms that got me my agent got an extra 10K during revisions!

Jenny Morris, Agented Author
I think I under-write. Especially internal. I’m always adding a lot of that in revisions. But I think I over-write my beginnings. I almost always have to cut a lot there.

Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
I think I underwrite. I usually set my goal at 60,000 words…and then bulk up from there. But then I bulk up too much, and have to cut A LOT. I’ve cut entire chapters, entire characters. I’ve also had to add in characters because the story didn’t make sense without them.

Theresa Paulo, Agented Author
Hmm.. Good question… I guess I’d say when it comes to back story I overwrite and wind up cutting most of it. However when it comes to description, my first drafts tend to be under written and I need to really amp it up. The most I ever cut was probably from my latest Rewrite, I cut most of the first chapter 11 pages. It was hard, it hurt, but my story is so much better because of it.
Are you an over or under-writer?


8 Responses

  1. I think of myself as an overwriter, but I do both! I always have to go back and fill in more backstory and slow down the narrative after the first draft as it all tends to seem a bit rushed. But I have so much to cut as well. I often have several words in a sentence that just aren’t necessary, or a whole little bit of dialogue that I could really do without.

  2. I do both. I have to go back and layer settings and emotion in, but I seem to write a lot of unnecessary words. 🙂

    With the two stories I’ve queried, I’ve cut unnecessary scenes, but with my current WIP, I’m just at 50K with the bare bones, so hopefully I’ll mostly do the adding with that one.

  3. Interesting all the underwriters! I’m one too. I’m always minding the word count and get to that 60k word goal and then start revising. With my latest WIP I’ve gone from 61k to 72k and still revising. lol

  4. Very interesting answers. I figured there would be a lot more overwriting because people are always talking about “cut-cut-cut!” I like this information though. Write the bare bones and then plump up!

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