February 16th, 2007


My Process

I was trying to explain to a couple of friends last night what exactly it was that I'm currently doing with the novel, so I'm going to talk about process in order to help clarify it in my head and hope that it's useful or informative for other folks.

This is the second novel I've written.  The first was right after grad school and about superheroes, and my approach was that I wrote a whole bunch of scenes, and then I arranged them in consecutive order and filled in the transistions.  This may, as it turns out, have given me the wrong idea about the ease of writing novels.

So this one...way different process.  It's this weird oscillation between writing and planning.  First there was an idea, then a short story.  And then I thought "Well, this story would actually make a good novel."  Then came a (very) rough outline.  Then a bunch of writing.  Then a better outline developed from what had emerged from the writing.  Then a whole bunch more writing.  Then I went through and created a meticulous, scene by scene outline that allowed me to go through the manuscript and put in all the (PUT SCENE WITH X THAT NEEDS TO ALSO DO Y HERE) tags.  Now I'm going through, starting from the beginning, revising what's there and filling it out. including the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter.  That'll leave me with a solid draft that should end up being about 85-90k long, which is about 150% longer than I had originally thought.  This writing is going very quickly - it's much easier to hit the 2k a day target when you know exactly what you're writing.

After that?  Well, I think the next steps will be these passes, which should be finished by the end of March:
1) One pass reading straight through, looking for and fixing bad glitches.
2) One pass through looking for the places where the descriptions need to be clearer.
3) At least one read-aloud all the way through pass.
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