Thursday, March 11, 2010

Writing is Work

There's a lot involved with writing a novel. There's planning, writing, revising, editing, world building, character creating, revising, writing, writing, writing, and writing. Not necessarily in that order.

It's a lot of work. A lot of work.

Think about it. I started writing with Jacky back in 2004. It started as an epic urban fantasy. I didn't know a spit about writing, like characterization, description, plot continuity, or anything else. I knew how to put words on paper--or screen, as the case may be--and that was about it. But I did a lot of it. No idea what the word count was, but I wrote 25 chapters of the very first original never revised/edited version of Jacky.

It sat for a while, and when I picked it up and read over it to see exactly what I'd done, I nearly gagged. It was horrible! There's a section where I used "water" at least three times in the same sentence.

But, there was something there. The characters, at least, worked. So I started over again. This time, I finished the first book. And wrote four and half other books. Full length, all of them, ranging from 80-150k. Then I went back again, compressed the first two books into one, and came out with DEALING WITH DEMONS. I was working on the second (originally the third) book of the series, when I had that horrible feeling something wasn't working right. DEALING WITH DEMONS worked. It was good. I wrote query letters, started to re-read it for the upteenth zillion time so I could put together an outline for synopsis writing, and realized it wasn't going to work.

Another book and a half of work, tossed out the window.

So I started yet again. I wrote 18k, tossed out 14k of it. Now I'm still not sure what to call this current incarnation of the first book in what I hope will be the Jacky series, and working away.

What did I learn in all of this?

It's really important to go back over what you've written. It's also important to let it sit for a little while before going back over it.

This doesn't have to apply to everyone, but for me, I need to revise as I go along. As soon as writing slows down, starts getting hard, and I have that niggling feeling something's not quite right, I hit the revisions. Usually I can find the problem, clear it up, clean it out, and get back to the writing. Other times...

Well, other times I end up throwing out over 3/4 of what I've written.

All's fair in the game of writing.

1 comment:

  1. And you forgot that sometimes you end up making AWESOME friends on the long and arduous road that is writing :D Friends who love to help, aren't afraid to be honest and hopefully get drunk with you on the Day of The Book Deal ;)