Are You A “Swooper” Or A “Basher?”


In the continuing “new” tradition of Vonnegut-isms, I pose to you this question:

When it comes to writing, are you a “swooper” or a “basher?”

Let me quote for you Kurt Vonnegut’s definitions of each (as copied from page 137 of Timequake):

Tellers of stories with ink on paper, not that they matter anymore, have been either swoopers or bashers. 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.

Vonnegut considered himself a basher. I’m a swooper. Yup. I pound out a story as fast as my fingers can type—lest my idea mill forgets where it’s going, which is entirely possible!—and then I review, revise, rework, and edit for months! By that time, a new idea strikes and I repeat the process yet again. When another cycle is done, I go back to the previous manuscript and revise and edit some more. Draft after draft clutters my hard drive (well, not anymore since “the crash” of last week, but it was cluttered while it still lived) and still I tinker and tweak.

So, what category do you fall under–“swooper” or “basher?” What are the pros and cons of each?

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(Again, thank you “Yahoo Image Search” for these fabulous images!)

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3 comments on “Are You A “Swooper” Or A “Basher?”

  1. philangelus says:

    Gosh,I don’t know. I swoop through, but I don’t go back needing to do major fixing afterward either. I don’t edit while writing. But on the other hand, I only seldom find the need to revise huge chunks and fix tremendous mistakes.

    I guess I swoop during the head-planning phase?

  2. Lisa Amowitz says:

    I am a swoop-basher? I write in spurts, then hit slow spots that can take weeks, then go back and edit in the same halting style. I’ve been stalled at chapter 25 of my revise for four days now. Commenting here is my avoiding it now that I’ve done every conceivable other activity I can think of, including turning in all my student’s grades for the semester and driving my son to his college final where I was SUPPOSED to write. (but he finished too quick—I was still blog-surfing).

    You need a *follow* button on here so I can keep track of your blog!

    • lbdiamond says:

      Yes, I’m stuck in the swamp lands of revision too.

      I do need a follow button, but wordpress does not have that function as of yet. I do have a subscribe tab on the right hand side; apparently you sign up and get e-mail updates when a new posting is up. I usually update around once a week.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Happy holidays!

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