Note to self – When done writing, write about process

I’m writing a new novel.  This is the second one I’ve drafted since the tenth draft of Salvaged when I swore I’d never write ten drafts of anything again.  The one before this was last year’s NaNoWriMo which fell short of expectations.

In the mid-term, I’ve outlined film scripts and worked on comic scripts and finished a few short stories. I’ve also outlined this year’s NaNo project (or at least, I think I know what that will be).  Then, out of the blue, I got my rastrophiliopustrocity for this novel.

Process changes:

  • Salvaged process:
    • Pants 100K word novel. Figure out it’s trying to do too much and has no climax.
    • Cut plot in half, combine characters, pants new climax.
    • Restructure entire plot and try again from scratch
    • Change entire book from third person and two POVs to first person and one POV
    • Discover outlining. Use index cards. Rewrite 80% of novel
    • Print out 300 pages and red ink with a real pen. Rewrite.
    • Discover Scrivener. Import. Rewrite some more.
    • Swap location of 6 chapters and do a complete continuity edit
    • Still hate the beginning  and the ending and change both again
    • Final edit of the final version and now telling people who read it to not give me feedback please until a professional agent or editor does.
  • 2013 NaNo process
    • Use Scrivener cards to outline plot points with 1 sentence blurbs
    • Write 50K words in 1 month
    • Realize I had too few subplots to make it more than a novella. Also realize I had to dig too deep into my emotional yuck to give bad guy a soul, and would have to try again when I was feeling stronger. Set novel aside with half a plot, a bad guy that’s a cardboard cut out, and a lot of promise.
    • Next step will be to add some cards to the outline for the subplots and the bad guy and dig deep for that rewrite. The goal will be for this draft to be beta-readable in it’s final form.
    • Then off to beta readers, back from beta readers, ready to make edits.
    • Editing pass and whatever rewriting revision needed. Make sure I’m not a horrible human being espousing killing baby bunnies via my plot.
    • Then off to final-version reader. For final edits and then start the query process after that.
  • This month’s Lightening-Bolt-Novel process:
    • Write the short story. Realize this is a novel not a short story.
    • Use my corkboard to flesh out the real index cards and outline within a good structure. Adding in a subplot to acts two and three to contrast the main story lines.
    • Use scrivener cards to recreate cork board in folders so I know what i’m doing in each scene (what’s the feeling, the beginning – end point, etc)
    • Writing the words.  — this is where I am right now. I feel like I’m pacing a little better this time. I still think my light first draft will only come in at 50-60K words, but I will do a fast second pass to add sensory details and inner monologue (the stuff I skip when I’m moving quickly) before I call this done closer to 85-90K words.

So far, this is going more smoothly than previous versions, just as the last one went more smoothly than the first.  I’m definitely learning from my mistakes and finding a pace in terms of how I like to write. The narrative itself is stronger this time, too. Not just the structure.  I actually think the pre-writing of the story helped a lot with that.

I think I want to continue to use the NaNo piece as my learning curve for how well edits work, and what my editing process should be.  Ideally, I’d like to know how long it will take me to get from the flash of inspiration to the “this is ready to go” stage.  The several years that Salvaged required is certainly not accurate.

Oh hey. Look at that. I blogged!

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4 thoughts on “Note to self – When done writing, write about process

  1. Sounds like you’re working your way toward a process that suits you well. It can take quite a while to figure this out. Lest you feel bad, it took me *coughmumblemumblesixteenyearscoughahem* to finish my first novel.

  2. Pingback: Mini-piphany about Process | . A.K. Anderson

  3. Pingback: Hunting For Lessons Learned | . A.K. Anderson

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