Different Writing Processes...

Good morning, all :)

Many thanks to those who responded about their favorite artists. I will be doing a post on my favorites soon (promise!) but for now, I wanted to put words to web for what’s happening.

There are many ways to write a book. Some are better than others, and one good thing is that after writing more than one, you can tell what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes I try to take certain things from one and other things from another. Sometimes in the beginning, a certain process works great, but toward the end it becomes like pasta (ever-growing, no way out of).

Case in point. Current manuscript in progress. Don’t ask me why, but I decided to “quilt” this manuscript together. Normally I stick to a linear approach, and write the book from beginning to end. Sometimes I detour, sometimes I get stuck, sometimes I plot, sometimes I don’t. But it’s usually linear. Not this time. Linear wasn’t working, but all these ‘random’ scenes in my head seemed to flow.

Why argue w/the muse? I began writing down various scenes, had a vague idea what the storyline would be, and knew my characters well. This worked…for 185 pages. Then a horrible thing happened. It no longer worked! I had no more ‘new’ scenes to put in, and I needed the linear approach to make it all make sense to me. In the midst of this, I also changed the title and that cast a new spin on things.

Moral of the story–each book is unique, and each approach has to use the best things that have worked before while trying to avoid what didn’t work. I am to the point of believing that odd numbered books work and even numbered ones don’t. Yes, this sounds ridiculous, but it’s been true for me. Book 1 didn’t exactly “flow” but there were moments of sheer inspiration that surprised even me. Book 3 practically wrote itself…seriously. It’s the easiest book I’ve ever done, and also one of my favorites.

So my advice is…figure out what works. Don’t start writing until you’re ready. Make a few notes for scenes/turning points and put them on a bulletin board. Try to have a plan if you get stuck.

So, right now, I pick myself up out of the quicksand I feel I am in, and will go back to being linear. I’ll patch these scenes together, bridge some where necessary, and heave ho my way onward.

Elaine

  • I think it is good to keep trying different approaches, and not be locked into only one. It seems to keep it fresher longer.

    As I write personal essays for my KSU capstone project, I am trying to vary the essays’ structure. I don’t want to be repetitive.

    But I’m not sure if I should worry too much about being repetitive, since, once my capstone is complete, I will be submitting each essay as a stand alone piece to various literary journals. Does it matter, then, if the structure repeats. Perhaps not. I’m trying to balance the competing demands.