Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Changing the Writing Process

I feel pretty good about this plan thing - still.

I have 2 nonfiction books close to done (just a few tweaks here and there and then they can be published! Woohoo!).

Currently I'm working on my third book in my 2014 master writer plan, which has been a real learning experience. The nonfiction books were easy for me to write because they were based on real life experience. This fiction book, while not difficult, has stretched me as a writer.

Typically when I write fiction I don't know what's going to happen. In fact, if I know what's going to happen (i.e. outline the story in advance) I can't write it. I don't care. it's one of the reasons I've put off finishing Khloe's final book and the third in the ROLLINS PACK. I already know the answer to the question I'm asking and I'd much rather be surprised by the direction of the story than know exactly what I'm getting.

There are serious disadvantages to such a process. For example, I never know what's going to happen. It means that I can sometimes get lost in weird details and then in the rewriting process I have to go back and rework significant portions of the story. Often I get stuck on a part. The characters end up at a point which should be easy to write (this happens, so x follows) but instead I get blocked and I have no idea what happens next.

I become a slave to my creative inspiration with this type of process. But it's not all bad.

The major benefit of this process style is that I'm motivated to finish. It's how I wrote THE BROTHERS in 2 weeks time. It's how I wrote JAMES in less than a month. When I'm on, I'm really on. I'm manic.

This current book however, is too complicated for that. It's a single narrative, and yet it's episodic. There are themes and hidden gems in every chapter. There are connections and layers upon layers. There are a lot of things that have to happen at the right time in the right order for it to work as a book. Everything has to be just right. On top of that, everything in the writing changes from chapter to chapter so it makes it difficult to navigate without some kind of road map. I can't rely on my creative muse of the moment. I had to change my process.

While I didn't create an outline as such, I did make a list of plot points. I also have another list I'm using as direction for each chapter (though I won't explain what the list is because I don't want to spoil the book for you when you read it). I have to consult this every time I work on it. This is in part so that I keep in mind the general direction of the book, but also to get my mind back into gear. If I didn't, I really would get lost in the writing.

Because of this process, I could still finish writing this in a week as long as I figure out how everything fits together (and I have enough writing time with caring for the baby). I want to finish it in a week, but we'll see.

By way of letting you know a little more, I will say this: the current project is for adults - VERY much for adults. The themes are sometimes gruesome, sometimes sexual, very philosophical, sometimes spiritual and things get pretty graphic. This is the book I've always wanted to write but couldn't until now. I didn't realize I wanted to write it until now (sounds weird, but it's a process, so bear with me). It's home is somewhere between fantasy and science-fiction with a dose of literary fiction.

If it ends up being the length I expect, then I'm a third done with the first draft.

I know. That told you hardly anything. But I promise my next post will be less of a tease. Really. In the mean time, send me positive vibes and hopefully I'll get an average of 4x my daily goal written in the next 7 days.

That would mean I'd be finished with writing this current project. And I could get to rewriting. And coverart. And publishing.

And that would be awesome.

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