Writing Process

What am I working on?

I’m in the middle of revising a novel called The Crane Girl (which is fantasy), though I haven’t done any work on that in a while. I’m also writing, revising, and submitting several short stories and poems, all sci fi.

And, of course, this blog.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

When I write sci fi, it tends to blur the line between science fiction and fantasy. I lean more toward Dune than 2001. Likewise, in the fantasy realm, I shy away from Tolkienesque conventions like elves, dwarves, and orcs (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I see both genres in the same way: each is a license to make up almost anything you want, and run with it.

Why do I write what I do?

I like to make beautiful things.

That’s really all there is to it. I don’t have an agenda or a specific purpose in mind. I just want to make the universe a more interesting place.

How does my writing process work?

I do a lot of planning up front. I don’t understand how anyone can write a novel without a plan in mind. (People do write such novels, and good ones, too; I just don’t understand it.) I work out the entire plot ahead of time, all the major characters, their motivations, their histories, the history of my fictional world.

Then I dive into the first draft. Generally I read to my wife aloud what I have written, so I get some immediate feedback as I go. In the first draft, I try (and fail) to avoid worrying about fine details, and just get the overall structure in place. Successive revisions clean up plot holes, character motivation gaps, etc. I’m especially bad about physical details, so I add those as a conscious effort in revision rather than in the first draft.

A lot of times I print out some or all of a story I’m working on and read it aloud. That seems to help, and is recommended by many authors.

Thanks to David J. Higgins for suggesting these questions. You can see his own answers to the questions here.

2 responses to “Writing Process

  1. I really like these questions (I answered them here: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=4779, and I don’t usually do those questionnaire things).

    I agree about the genre thing — I’m very influenced by comic books, so a couple of my characters have superpowers. They don’t put on funny suits and fight crime, though. I was also influenced by magical realism, but I write in an entirely urban setting. I agree that the idea is to free the imagination, not to work slight variations on what’s been done before.

    Oh, and I am one of those people who writes novels without a plan. 🙂 Well, I do plan more than I used to (my second novel was over 170,000 words, which is one potential downside of having no plan at all), but still very little. I compensate, I guess, by always knowing my characters in advance (very well, at this point, since I’ve been writing about some of them for over 25 years).

    I agree also about reading the WIP out loud. I don’t read out it loud to myself, but instead I have my Kindle read it to me. It is enormously helpful.

  2. Pingback: Writing Process | [BTW] : Ben Trube, Writer

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