I spent Saturday with Donna Morrisey talking about creative writing. The workshop was held at Oceanstone, a lovely venue near to Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia.
We learned a number of concepts and heard how Donna approaches her writing. Donna did not publish anything until she was 40 which gives hope to people who may be taking longer to chose their path.
Probably the point that stuck with me was that if you want to have 2500 good words for a short story you start by writing 6000 words and then editing the 6000 down to 2500. I guess I do like numbers but that made such sense to me. The creative process should begin with a lot of material and whittle it down until you get a focused result. I was surprised by how long an author might work on refining the same piece until it was distilled to its shortest and best form.
In my writing, which is all non fiction so far, I find that the editing process adds words where I feel that I need to say more in order to explain concepts. I don’t say enough the first time around with any of my books, at least according to my editors.
I am going to work on changing my writing approach, writing more the first time- which is why we go to workshops!