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?