cedunkley (cedunkley) wrote,

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An answer to a blog about the uniqueness of each individual's writing a novel process...

Author David B. Coe (davidbcoe) posted the following on the Magical Words blog: There is No Right Way...

My answer ended up getting a bit long for a response there so I decided to make it into a post here instead.

I've discovered I'm a linear writer, as in I write the book from beginning to end in order.

My first drafts are actually Event driven manuscripts. I use them to get down what happened and who was involved. Since I have a secondary purpose behind many of my stories (as they are part of a 10,000 year history) I tend to focus initially on the historical event.

It is in the second draft where I take the Event and transform the telling into more of a character (or rather multiple characters) driven story. The Event is still present and critical, but I tell it through the experiences of my POV characters and have their actions be the cause and shape of the Event.

It may sound a bit backwards, but that's what works for me. I've learned that, no matter what summary plotting I do, it is in the actual writing where some of my most important plot twists or world building elements are discovered.

This process usually causes quite extensive rewriting on my part but that's okay for now. Once I am published (keeping positive here) and working with a contractual deadline, I don't know if I will have the luxury to write 100,000 words and then rewrite about 75,000 of them.

2009 is going to be an interesting year for me in terms of writing.

I'd like to take it slower and not move onto Chapter Two until Chapter One is perfect, but, as I mentioned above, I am usually surprised along the way during the actual writing. And surprises often mean going back and foreshadowing the surprise properly.

It is with my second draft where I can try and make each scene as good as it can be before moving to the next, since I have the whole story already written out.

As an example, my NaNo project is a back story for the WIP I want to develop into my first publishable book. Two of the main characters undergo a transformation from sculptors to powerful leaders. My first draft really doesn't have this growth written into it. I'm just getting down what happens. When I rewrite the story later, I will be able to layer in their motivations and changes for the reader so their progression makes sense.

And the beauty of it is, if I don't like the POV character's journey, I can always change it, even drastically. Having the first draft Event framework to fit it into helps that out a lot.

As long as I get my POV character to where he or she needs to be for the climax, I can experiment with different paths for that character, keeping in mind their path doesn't disrupt the other POVs.

I already have in mind to write about the long transformational journey of one particular POV character, from her original inception to published form. Once I do get published, that is.

So, to follow up on David B. Coe's blog, what is your *writing a novel* process?
Tags: david b. coe, first draft, magical words, process

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