Monday, October 8, 2012

Writing Process

I'm busy on the fourth book of my epic fantasy series, The Futhark Chronicles. The Heir of Futhark will wrap up the series. Someday I might revisit the world I've created there with a series about the next generation of characters, but I have to finish this book long before that can happen. Before I talk about writing, I wanted to let you know I'll be a guest at The Writing Nut this week. So hop over there now and meet Nutschell, a very special generous person.

Writers develop their own unique ways to go about writing a book. I generally write a really rough first draft, hopefully rather quickly. Quickly for me currently is five to six months. Then I print it out and read it, making huge changes, pulling and adding scenes, writing all over it in red and blue pen until there's more colored ink than there is black. After that, I use that rough draft as an outline to write the book I intend to send to my beta readers. That's where I am right now with Heir of Futhark.

Using the outline, I can write a couple of thousand words a day. Not every sentence gets changed so some chapters go pretty quickly. When I have to add or do a lot of clean up on scenes, it slows me down. Sometimes a single sentence slows me down. I want to keep it because it says something important, but it just isn't saying it quite right.

Here's a rule I use during this rewrite. If I have to read a sentence twice to know for sure what it means, I have to change it. I don't want my reader to have to pause to understand what I meant to convey. I want the reader caught up in the story, not taken out by my confusing prose or poor sentence construction. I'm lucky in that my beta reader, Gina, is excellent at catching things that might be a bit foggy.

I'm sure that as a reader, we've all encountered a complicated part in a book that we have to slow down and reread. Perhaps a part where you're not sure which character is speaking or which head you're inside of.

Do you catch this in your own writing? Do you notice it when you're reading? Do you know Nutschell?


  1. The only time I ever write a quick first draft is NaNoWriMo. The rest of the time, it's just slow going for me. I need to change that.

    But yeah, if, when re-read what's been written, I have to read a sentence more than once to figure out what it's supposed to say, I change it. If I don't know what it's supposed to mean, how will my readers?

  2. I do know Nutschell, I just left a post on her blog before coming here :D

    I also like to fix areas my tongue stumbles over. If I can't make it clear, with all the background I have in my head, how is a reader every going to understand it?

  3. You have an intense editing regiment, but I bet that gives your MS the extra care and polish it needs. I tend to be a little slower and edit in sections as I write.

    Btw, I tagged you for The Next Big Thing, so check out my post today if you want to play along. :)

  4. I guess I should stop saying I'm a slow writer when it comes to first drafts. Although my 350 words an hour pace is because I put so much effort into the first draft so I don't have to write the whole thing again.

  5. thank you for this. i cannot even imagine writing a book that people will understand. I have confused people with simple paragraph blog posts..they interpret my intent in a way I never intended...kind of discouraging..but at least a learning process.
    good luck with your writing!

  6. I agree - if you have to reread something, it probably needs to be rewritten. Unless you're rereading it because it's incredibly fabulous. :)

    Your process is very interesting. I think everyone does it differently.

  7. i am sure i confuse people all the time--i try not to, at least in my non-poetry writing :)

  8. I write first drafts quickly. Like a month or two. There's a few times in the stories I'll hit a bump and slow to think, but it's the revisions and edits that really slow me down.

  9. It's so interesting to read about the different ways in which writers develop their stories. It reinforces the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all writing formula...
    I met Nutschell during the 2011 A-Z Challenge...

  10. I know Nutty! My biggest problem in writing is when my brain gets ahead and then my typing doesn't seem to keep up. I really should go back to school and take a few creative writing classes. Maybe it would help me to find the right words.