Can you imagine writing before copy-paste-delete? Not me! I know some people still write longhand, and then transcribe it into the computer. I can’t do it. I tried it, but my brain moves much faster than my hand, and I got frustrated.
Today is a Sven check-in. My writing has slowed down because I finished the book, and instead of launching into the next one, I started the revisions. I know you’re supposed to let the book sit, but I’ve been writing this one long enough that I’ve pretty much forgotten the first half by now. Really.
Anyway, I wrote 1685 words yesterday, which is kind of scary because the book is over 70K now. Hopefully, today, I’ll do some cutting. But what I’m (re)discovering in this process is that I love rewriting. Once the story is finally on the page, it’s so much fun to go back and expand the stuff I glossed over in my rush to reach the end. It’s amazing to see a scene with new eyes and to be able to pull out the nuances I wanted the first time but couldn’t find because the story wasn’t complete and I didn’t know the characters.
And that’s another thing: knowing the characters. By the end of the book, I know them so well that I have to go back and fix them in the beginning. They weren’t fully formed in my head, and I made them do things that weren’t right. Easy enough to fix once I know them.
I love hearing about process, which is why I like to talk about mine. Everyone is different, but it’s always helped me to know how writers work. I used to think there was a correct way to write a book. Now I know there isn’t.
Process is also a journey in self-discovery. When I first started, I worked on one book for a year, rewriting it as I went, polishing and polishing, until I had a finished product at the end. Truthfully, the book could have stood some revision. I didn’t realize that beautiful sentences and a good story weren’t necessarily the same thing. I had a beautifully written cliche.
The next book I entered in the GH and had to write like mad to get to the end. It was horrible, it didn’t final, and I didn’t bother revising it (pretty much because I didn’t know how). The next book I gave up on. I wrote another book very quickly, then abandoned it during revisions because I got bored.
That brings me to the current book. I rewrote the first 150 pages twice. Threw it all out and rewrote it. Ouch. Finally reached the end by writing to a deadline (thanks, Sven) and now I’m revising. I’m not bored, and I’m not worried I won’t get to the end. In fact, I think I’ve finally found my process. Write the first third or half, rewrite it once or twice, write to the end, and revise.
I don’t plot (tried it and failed). I don’t plan. I have two characters and a problem and I launch into nothingness. Not pretty, but that’s the way it works. Why am I sharing this? Because I remember floundering and wondering why I couldn’t do it “right.” I didn’t realize there was no right. If talking about my process helps even one writer who is struggling, I’m glad to do it.
How does your process work? Do you plot? Or do you launch into nothingness and hope you make it to the other side? I love hearing about it, so tell me!