Friday, October 02, 2009

My process is a work in process

I wish I had a tried and true process, and I’ve experimented with a bunch. I’ve tried writing a rough draft quickly on a brief outline, and discovered that the rough draft had to be totally scrapped.

I then tried writing a detailed outline, scene by scene, with everything mapped out, and then when I went to write the book, discovered my outline was seriously flawed and I basically had to start from scratch.

I then tried a basic outline, with the beginning and ending mapped out, and as I wrote the book, I evaluated how the story worked and tweaked it as I went, and still had to re-write the first third.

So basically, I’ve discovered, no matter what I do, at least a third, to a half of the book will need almost a complete re-write no matter what I do.

So I can safely say my process is to re-write, no matter how shiny the story idea, no matter how clearly the beginning and ending come to me. If I’m lucky it’s just one re-write. With the current book, it will end up being three, possibly four by the time I’ll be done.

All with the help of my endlessly patient critique partners. Because without them I might be lazy and skip the final re-write.

7 comments:

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey look it's Sinead!!! How are you doing? How is baby?

I think rewrite as a process is hilarious. I am going to go to Hank Phillipa Ryan's workshop today on using Newspaper Techniques to build a better a novel - and maybe she'll have the key we all need to make our process better - I will report back.

Maureen McGowan said...

I'm starting to think re-writing is my process, too. Might as well embrace it.

Sinead M said...

Hey, I feel almost alive, and ready to revise yet again. I'm hoping to get some work done next week, and finally put this book to bed.
And yep, re-writing is what I'll be doing.

Sadly, baby does not seem to like cider as of right now.. I'm a little heartbroken by that.

Amy Ruttan said...

Congrats Sinead! I was thinking about you the other day when I was changing an explosive diaper! :)

I don't get online much any more. Hmmm I wonder why.

As for your process whatever works for you. I've found that Karen S. Wiesner's book First Draft in 30 Days seems to work best with me. By doing major plotting I can find the glaring plot holes in my work before I write the first draft.

It's working well on my huge historical. Plus its mostly definitely helped on my pacing issue, which was a BIG issue.

Of course my CPs, who are pansters, are scared by what I dub the plotting binder.

Eileen said...

Ooh, Molly, I love Hank! I've met her at a couple of conferences. I can't wait to hear how the workshop went.

I'm beginning to think my process is banging my head against the wall, then rinse and repeat. I'll blog about it on Tuesday.

Molly O'Keefe said...

AMY!! Hello - how are you and the new baby??

Eileen - while's Hank's workshop did not solve my process problem - she is a heck of a lady. Classy, so well-spoken. So encouraging - the way she talked to this room full of writers was amazing - "give yourself the joy of rewriting!" I almost chocked on my coffee - but she's right. It was a great conference - I'm gonna talk about it on Monday.

Sinead M said...

Amy, another mother of three, how are you?
I've tried the plotting, but not well enough, I haven't given up on it yet. If I could even reduce the amount of re-writing I do, I would be so happy..

Molly, can't wait to hear about the conference..

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