The extension of 193nm exposure wavelength to smaller nodes continues the trend of increased data complexity and subsequently longer mask writing times. We review the data preparation steps post tapeout, how they influence shot count as the main driver for mask writing time and techniques to reduce that impact. The paper discusses the application of resolution enhancements and layout simplification techniques; the fracture step and optimization methods; mask writing and novel ideas for shot count reduction. The paper will describe and compare the following techniques: optimized fracture, pre-fracture jog alignment, generalization of shot definition (L-shot), multi-resolution writing, optimized-based fracture, and optimized OPC output. The comparison of shot count reduction techniques will consider the impact of changes to the current state of the art using the following criteria: computational effort, CD control on the mask, mask rule compliance for manufacturing and inspection, and the software and hardware changes required to achieve the mask write time reduction. The paper will introduce the concepts and present some data preparation results based on process correction and fracturing tools.