Thursday, July 19, 2012

Whatever works

I've heard of writers who use the same process for every book. They do an outline, or they don't. They do the first draft a certain way, then the next draft, etc. They always use critiquers at the same point in their timeline.

Then there are those of us who find our process changing to suit each new book. We find that the process we hammered out for one book doesn't work on the next one; the next book decides to be a diva that demands its own Special Process. And yeah, we can insist, we can throw our muscles around and try to beat the book into submission ... or we can just do what it takes to get the darn book written. Even if it means wearing a beret and listening to Bee Gees music while typing in 14-point Garamond font colored red. Because having a book inside you that wants to come out is like carrying a bowling ball around in your skull. You will do anything to get it out. You will start reading your words aloud or stop reading them aloud. You will write longhand or try new software. You will interview the characters, switch point of view, try it in verse. You will start outlining or stop outlining; you will create a character collage; you will enlist or drop an alpha reader. You will try every tool in the box until one of them works.

Which is why writers like me are always collecting writer tools, and blogging about them, and comparing notes. You never know which one will release the next book.

6 comments:

  1. Love, love, love this. I am working on my 8th book now, and I have not written any of them with the same process. It's always different. Just think how boring it would be if writing books was always the same. Yuck.

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    1. Sometimes I'm a little envious of people who know exactly how they'll get from draft to book--but yes, we can look upon the unpredictable as an adventure!

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  2. This is great. I could actually imagine you wresting with blob with words printed on it, pushing and shoving into a hard bound book.

    I love trying new things and tools. Thank you for sharing about them with us. I love comparing notes.

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    1. LOL, the first draft often does resemble a blob!

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  3. Jennifer,I really enjoy your insights. Only other writers really "get" the sometimes chaotic process of writing a book. I start out organically, letting the prose build in whichever way it wants, and then after a few revisions, I see the outline begin to develop. You are so right - each project is different, with its own voice. Thank you!

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