Avoidance is Healthy (I say)

Because it can’t all be sunshine and happy edits.  Here’s a RAQ (rarely asked question for those of you at home).

What’s your writing process like?

To be honest…chaotic.  I’m not normally an outliner.  I thrive on that feeling of getting lost in the words, and then have something tie itself together that I didn’t even see coming.  There’s a part at the end of Witch Eyes that I wrote.  Stopped.  Read over.  Then ran out of the room to announce my genius to the roommate.  Who took a second to wrap her brain around it, and then had a jaw drop moment of agreement.  (That was a fun night – second only to the night I had to wake her up — TWICE — to tell her about the email offer I got).

Since I don’t outline, I generally just have a vague direction the book is going.  Usually what happens is that I know the beginning, and I have vague senses of a plot point coming up in the future.  Then I write and write until I get to that point, and hope that by the time I’m there, I know where my next rest stop is.  I really do think of my writing like a highway.  I just keep a lookout for those road signs that tell me how long until the next rest stop.

I don’t usually stop and revise until I get to a point where I realize I got off on the wrong exit, and I need to backtrack and figure out where it all went wrong.

Also?  I never, ever end up at the destination I’m supposed to.  Meaning my first draft ending is ALWAYS full of fail, and I have to rewrite it.

Usually what I’ve done so far is to print myself out a calender, and lay it flat on the desk in front of me.  I use it to record my starting and ending word counts for the day.  Then I subtract, and write down how many words I’ve written that day.  I set myself a goal (six or eight weeks, usually) and that gives me a word count goal for every day.  What ends up happening is that once I get into the story, I start surpassing that word count guide.  Then I’ll revise the estimated date for me to finish (or I procrastinate for a few weeks until I’m back on track).

Before I let anyone else read it (usually) , I’ll go through and do at least one or two rounds of revisions.  I write myself a list of things to work on in the second draft, and if I don’t get through all of those (with Witch Eyes, there were about 50 different things, some were huge undertakings, and others were like "mention this here") then I work on that with the third draft.

At some point, I just get fed up with the edits, and I send it off to my beta readers.  They rip it apart, and I do the process all over again.

Editting, for me, is a lot like writing.  Once I get into it, I start to accelerate more and more until I’m blazing through the story.  It’s getting that momentum going that’s so hard.  I get distracted EASILY, so it’s hard sometimes to keep focused.

All in all.  Yeah.  That’s my process.  Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask? 

2 thoughts on “Avoidance is Healthy (I say)

  1. hi scott! love reading about other
    people’s writing process. haven’t you
    been writing synopsis for future books
    for agent, tho? that’s sort of outline,
    isn’t it? any news on the subs? GOOD LUCK!!

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