Faster Than a Herd of Turtles

My friend’s father used to respond to questions regarding how fast something might occur by saying, “Faster than a herd of turtles in a wind storm.”

It’s slightly more colorful than my standard, “Slower than molasses in winter.”

It means about the same thing.  That is:  An incredibly long time.  Which is how long BD&L seems to be taking.  I thought the editing part took a while.  And it did.  Along with nearly killing me, or in the very least driving me crazy.  Yes, that is a very short drive, thank you.

I thought transcribing my assorted notes, scribbles, hash marks, changes, corrections, deletions, additions, and every other little thing I did whilst editing, would go quicker by comparison.

I obviously need to find a hobby other than thinking.  It never leads anywhere good, nor is it very accurate.

Transcribing is taking way longer than the editing did.  Why?  Partly because I can’t stop making minor edits, and partly because my characters have decided to say and do things they obviously forgot to say or do earlier.  I’m of the opinion they find that sort of behaviour funny.  Take my main character, for instance, who just the other day must have thought one particular scene came off a bit too flat.  So, what did she do?  Picked up a bloody sword, pointed it in my direction, and nearly 500 words later she’s now content and ready to move on.  For now.  She’s a bit impulsive, foolhardy and strong-willed so who am I to argue?  Me?  I’m just the author.  I’m just the vehicle by which her story gets told.  Please, dear character, continue to run roughshod over me until I am subdued.

And when you’re done, please stick to the dang storyline so we can fling you into the world and others can appreciate what you’ve put me through.

p.s.  In case you’re wondering, and I know you are, a grouping of turtles is actually called a “bale”.

Write on!



  1. This is wonderful. I often feel like taking a bloody sword back at my characters when they decide to do things like adding more scenes to my ms.

    But, like you, I have to just let them run rampant as if they own the world and see where they take the story. They’re the ones who know what should really happen–even if I think I’ve got the ending figured out.

    That’s the problem with outlines (for me) and why my first drafts are the ones where I do absolutely no planning, no structuring. When it’s time to edit, it’s like rounding up all the characters, sitting them down, and explaining patiently that if they want their story to be told they need to let me do some damage control.

    And I use the ‘faster than a herd of turtles’ expression all the time, lol.

    • I can’t believe anyone has heard that expression before! LOL It makes absolutely no sense but I love it. 🙂

      I’m with you, no outlines. I can’t do it. I’ve tried and I just end up veering sharply off the path anyhow. Yes, I’m a pantser, through and through. I will admit, sometimes I need to poke my characters to get them not to gloss over things. They may not want to face the situation but, dang it, the reader has a right to see how they will. Other times, they tend to be a bit self-indulgent and I need to step in. But name another profession where you can freely admit you listen to the voices in your head and not get sent away for it?

  2. My mother has used “faster than a herd of turtles” since I can remember. I’ve always loved it.

    Great post, Kathi. I feel your pain, empathise with your frustration, and am encouraging you not to take up your own sword in order to win epic battle against your character. I have a feeling you might not win, and that would make me sad.

    As much as I’m really looking forward to BD&L being done and out in the world, I admit I’ll miss your editing goings-on. They’ve kept me entertained a while now. But I’ll just have to wait until novel #2 😉

    • It amazes me people out there have actually heard that phrase. I’ve never heard anyone use it before, or since…well, except me! LOL

      Never fear, there will *always* be more editing. I just hope I haven’t forgotten how to write fromt he beginning. Can’t wait to read what’s new in Greylands. Fletch has been pestering me.

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