Old Paths

Ah, more ME STUFF. Yes, it’s all about me, which sounds like a good movie title, except it seems so similar to the classic, All About Eve.

I’ve been editing the third book, Six (with Seven), in the Incomplete States series. It was the first of the four books that I wrote. I finished it over sixteen months ago.

Reading and editing the book rekindled memories of how I hunted for a writing process that worked for me. I was initially a staunch proponent of outline and research. I took that route because everything that I read said, that’s how you write a novel.

It didn’t work for me. I was restless, frustrated, and bored with the process. I tried modifying it. Reading of Orson Scott Card’s process, I attempted something of the same. I attempted to flow-chart what I would write. I used Post-its, white-boards, butcher paper, and story boards. As none worked, I chucked them all with the decision, I’ll just wing it.

I started writing in notebooks. I’d edit and revise each day’s work, typing it up on my computer, and doing further editing as I went. I later learned many writers use this organic process.

That first resulting novel was a disaster. I still have it, with promises to edit and revise it someday. Meanwhile, it was a tremendous learning experience. First, I’d written a novel. That buoyed my self-confidence, but then, it needed so much work that I sank like a house in a Florida sinkhole.

The next thing that happened is, I shoved that monster aside, and wrote another novel, and then several more. Each time, they needed work, and I was too impatient to fix them. Eventually, slowly, I gathered, ah, editing and revising is part of the writing process. I wrote more, I edited them, and published them. Then I grimaced because I see the errors in the published work.

They needed more work. I needed more patience.

With my panic and self-doubt somewhat subsiding, I began to think more about my writing process, and what that meant. Insights into myself and my process grew. 

When previously reading wonderful books, I lamented that I’d never be that good, capable, creative, or talented. Now, I think, how do I write and tell stories like that? Instead of bludgeoning me to the point of retreat, those other writers and novels establish goals.

Which brings me back to this novel and series. I started out blindly with a half-baked concept, and then went down different paths until I found a path that worked. Those other paths were still in the novel, and required that I read them and decide, keep them in, or cut them — or revise them.

Done writing, editing, and revising today.


4 thoughts on “Old Paths

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  1. I don’t like outlines, either, although I will make some rough notes to guide me and remind me of my best-laid plans (which usually fall apart once the story takes over). I think one of the worst pieces of advice writers ever get is to follow someone else’s method of writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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