Swooper or Basher? – Quote (77)
This is a VERY interesting quote, because it runs counter to popular creative writing wisdom. In conventional wisdom, there are no bashers; we are told we cannot bash and we must, as writers, always swoop.
I, personally, would be inclined to think of it as a scale, with a range between swoop and bash. Like a Kinsey Scale, rate it 5 at either extreme and 0 for those who do both equally. I’m a 3, maybe a 4, on the basher side. When I edit, I rarely do more than fix phraseology and grammar, and I only rarely cut and rework. If anything, I add elements for clarity and to underline connections between earlier story elements and later events.
I feel awkward when I try to swoop. I feel like I’m not writing my story, that I’m only making a big mess that will be a headache to unmess.
I would rather put a story aside than swoop ahead, and I often do, letting them sit for days or weeks or even months before the right continuation occurs to me.
I’m a basher, and if the ‘common sense’ of the creative writing community mostly doesn’t think I should exist, it’s a great comfort to know a writer of Vonnegut’s caliber recognized that writers like me do exist.
“Swoopers write a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one. When they’re done, they’re done.” — Kurt Vonnegut