I’m a Gemini. Not that I whole heartedly believe in astrology, but the twins description certainly fits me. I’m right brain and left brain: I majored in art, minored in math. I’m a panser (write by the seat of my pants) and a plotter. And this week I learned I’m a spewer and a write-itor. (Those two word are what Reed Farrel Coleman uses to describe those who write the entire manuscript and then go back and edit—spewers—versus those who write-edit-write-edit-write and so on—write-itors.)
Well, to be honest, I’m more of a write-itor than a spewer. I always tell others, especially new writers, to simply write the story and then go back and fix it, but I just don’t seem to be able to do that myself. Oh, there are days (sometimes weeks) when the words flow and I don’t think of going back and making changes. But then, somewhere in the story I realize something needs to be included in an earlier scene, or a character I thought I knew so well reveals that he isn’t the man I thought he was, and I need to tweak the scenes he’s in.
The writers who absolutely amaze me are those who write a story and that’s it. They don’t go back and make changes. They don’t need to. I’m not talking about those vain writers who believe every word they write is golden and shouldn’t be touched. (I’ve run into people like that. They’re the ones who give self-publishing a bad name.) No, I’m talking about those amazing people who create and edit in their heads so when they actually write the story, it is in finished form. These people will make changes if an editor sees a flaw, but their first draft is usually as polished as my final draft.
All I can say about those writers is we are not all created equal.
Last week I thought I could be a spewer. I was at a place in my wip where I just want to keep going. But I made the mistake (thank goodness) of asking a retired homicide detective if a victim’s car would be searched. Well, it seems not only would the victim’s car be searched, but also the “person of interest’s” car. The cars would be searched and impounded as evidence. And their houses would become crime scenes.
My first reaction after learning this was to pour myself a glass of wine and then another and another. For three days I didn’t write, but I thought, and thought, and thought. I thought maybe I could simply use some Post-it notes to indicate where changes needed to be made. And I started a list of those changes. But then I realized that simply wasn’t going to work, not for me. I needed to go back to the beginning and make the changes wherever and as often as they needed to occur. Definitely write-itor behavior.
One more day and I should be up to the point where I was last week. So far I’ve added about 2,000 words, and I think the story is much stronger, so I’m glad I’ve done the rewrites. Once I reach that point, I hope I can move forward, be a spewer.
What do you think? Are you a Spewer or a Write-itor?