Inverarity (inverarity) wrote,

Linear writing, rewriting, multiple projects, analysis paralysis, and more writer's rambling

So I am definitely a linear writer. It kind of blew my mind when I read on writing boards that a lot of writers will actually write scenes out of order. Sometimes they write their favorite scenes first, and then write all the stuff that comes in between. Or they write the ending of their novel before they write the beginning. Didn't J.K. Rowling say she wrote the ending to Deathly Hallows way back before she'd even finished the first book?

I don't do that. I start at the beginning and write until the end. Of course obviously I do rewriting along the way (which is one of my big problems), and then I do revisions when I'm finished, and then I get my stuff betaed and do yet more rewriting and so on. But the idea of writing the Big Scene before writing everything that leads up to it seemed very strange to me when I first heard it, just because it had never occurred to me to do it that way.

Intuitively, though, this seems like a writing method that makes sense and could work in a lot of ways, getting over hurdles and plot holes ("Just write where you want to go, then come back and revisit how you'll get there later") as well as allowing yourself to write the "good stuff" (i.e., the exciting, dramatic parts where the words come easily) when you are stuck on the connecting tissue. And Scrivener makes that sort of writing and organization very easy to do.

I have not yet been able to actually make myself do it, though. It feels like "cheating." It also makes me worry that I'll just write all the "fun" parts and then be more stuck trying to figure out how to assemble them coherently. Maybe this is a mental block I should get over, or maybe I'm just not suited for any other method than what's worked for me so far: first write Chapter One, then Chapter Two, then Chapter Three, and so on until I get to The End.

It also seems amazing to me now that I once wrote a novel completely by the seat of my pants: namely, Hogwarts Houses Divided. Well, that's not completely true. I had the general plot and the major scenes (the "good parts") and the ending already worked out (kind of) when I started. But as those of you who read it when I was posting it may recall, I was usually only writing two or three chapters ahead of the chapter posted. Unlike all my AQ novels, I did not finish HHD before I began posting it, and HHD was never betaed.

The fact that I now doubt my ability to do that again means one of these days I will have to try to do it again. If I ever do get around to my HHD sequel, I'm going to do it the same way: loosely outlined in my head, unbetaed, and writing and posting as I go. Wheee!

Anyway, as far as AQ goes, I just finished chapter seven of AQATWA. The word count is up to 35,000. There be some bloated chapters here and I am trying to break my habit of rewriting and rewriting before I have even finished the book, but it's a hard habit to break. There are entire scenes that... I think I mean them to mean something, but I haven't figured out yet how they are going to be important later. So far the first seven chapters are mostly Alex and her sisters. Well, there's also a trip to Chicago. And some making out. And a certain Mr. Brown. We haven't even gotten to the Ozarks yet. All this is subject to rearrangement/revision.

It'll all fall into place eventually, right?

I haven't done much more with my SF novel, except throw it to more lions to chew on. Some of the really hard critiques also have just enough of a ring of truth to them that I find myself thinking they may be right (and these are hard critiques basically telling me that I am writing at the level of a shit fanfic writer). They come alongside much more favorable critiques, equally well-articulated (i.e., they are not just "UR so great I would totally buy ur book!" just as the negative critiques aren't just "You suck and this is boring") and I still haven't figured out who I believe.

Well, honestly, some of the "analysis paralysis" is just laziness. I don't want to do major rewrites. And whether the novel needs them or not, the next step after a "final draft" is to actually start collecting agent and publisher lists and querying.

I also feel like I need to be working on a new (original fiction) novel to keep at this. Originally I was going to write AQATSA alongside my SF novel, splitting writing time more or less 50/50 between them. That didn't work out too well; once I got involved in AQATSA, I didn't get any work done on the SF novel. Once I finished AQATSA and went back to the SF novel, I was driven to finish it before I could start on AQATWA. A lot of writers work on multiple projects at a time, but it seems for many of them, it just diffuses their efforts and makes it less likely they will finish anything. It's not quite the same problem as the writer who is constantly getting spiffy new ideas for a novel, writes a few chapters, and then loses interest and the plot and moves on to another sparkly plot bunny. But I don't know if I can successfully work on two writing projects at a time. I am thinking about trying, though. Probably once I settle on which of my plot bunnies will actually become my next novel, I will get started.

But don't worry, I definitely plan to finish AQ Book Five by... the end of 2013. >..>
Tags: aqatwa, i can be real writer?, writing

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