<$Susan Goodwill$>

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


So, let's talk about writing. Who, out there, writes an entire draft before they go back and fix things? I can't! Who outlines meticulously? I try... Anybody outline scenes using scene cards? Sort of...Do you know the end of the book before you write it? I think I do but -no.
I always intend to write a "don't look down" draft from beginning to end--straight through. It sounds so efficient.
It never works for me. About 30--then 50-- then 100 pages in, I have to go back and rewrite from the beginnning. I tweak and twist and cut and re-emphasize, then I can move forward. I am beginning to learn that every time I stall, I ought to just heave a big sigh and go back to page one, no matter how long it takes.
How about you?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I write an entire draft before going back to fix things. The last three novels I wrote, I wrote during NANOWRIMO. The goal is 50K words in November. Last year I wrote 79K and finished with 84K by 12/04. I've been editing and having it critiqued since then and am within two weeks from sending out my query letter. I'm hoping that this is the one, even though I'm partial to the book I wrote three years ago.

I apply some of the stuff I learned in WRW to the novel. Create an outline of key points in the novel, and then fill some stuff (names list, character list, timeline, etc.) in as I write it to keep me on track.

Do I know the end, I always think I do, but the end mutates a bit. Everyone is different and for me it helps to know where I'm going to create that nice arc from the beginning and have firmly established public and private stakes for my characters.

I don't think I'd worry about your intentions not meeting your exact way of working through it. The important thing is that you ultimately create something.

There is something called the inspirational hump (disguised with many names). It is the point when your inspiration cools and the hard work of building your story begins. And yep, it's within that 15K-30K range of words.

But, you've done it already, so tap into that confidence that tells you, no big deal, I can do this, because I'm an author and I can do it again.

Write on! Write on!! Brothers and sisters, amen. Write on!!!

-rick b.
The only rule: writers write! Everything else is a guideline.

Thursday, September 21, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I'm working on a book--as I am now (again! Yay!)--instead of straight editing, if it is going well, I start at the beginning and keep going. However, I will go back and change things if something comes up to make the story more coherent, rather than waiting. I will edit those early pages, even while I go on, just to keep the story alive during "down" time.

The thing is, I'm never sure of the end. I don't know the story, I'm learning it as I write. It allows for surprises. Wrote a fun conversation between a mutating/recurring character, actually that's... well... stranger than I would have expected.

Thursday, September 21, 2006  
Blogger Susan Goodwill said...


It's great to hear you are working on a new book! Wonderful. The surprises are there for me as well. It seems that's where the magic is.

Friday, September 22, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The book I've been working on is the result of many false starts (and false finishes). Of the many drafts I tend to write the outline first and then as I write the prose I go back and revise the outline. Then I go back and revise the earlier scenes. I have been through numerous versions of my first chapter and some chapters are brand-spankin' new with this current draft.

I get the feeling that when this particular draft is over I will have a car that has a front grille of a Chrysler 300m, the hood of a Bentley, the sides of a Porche, the tires of a jacked-up Ford F-250, the roof of a 1990 Buick, the trunk of a Caddie, and the back bumper of a Chevy Silverado. Yeah, it looks weird, but will it run?

My job when I finish this particular draft will be to make the car run, and run in it's own unique way -- and give it a somewhat more uniform look.

You know, I've tried the note cards. Can't get into it. I like to do Excel spreadsheets for the time line and use the table function in Word to set up a scene outline.

It's always been a back and forth from prose to outline and back again -- whether it is my fiction or non fiction.


Saturday, September 23, 2006  
Blogger Susan Goodwill said...

Thanks, Dennis. Ya'know, I'm beginning to think the main thing is just to KEEP GOING toward Oz and stay the heck out of the poppies.
I have just read Janet Evanovich's "How I Write."
She says some folks need to go back and re-write every 50 or 100 pages. I always start with an outline but it morphs with the discovery like yours. And then it's go back time.
Get that car runnin,' buddy. I can't wait to see it!

Saturday, September 23, 2006  

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