Saturday, December 22, 2012

Writing Process By Tim

Good evening all! It's been quite some time since my last update. For that I apologize. That being said, I've been keeping true to my writing routine: daily before work and weekends before the kids get up. The second draft of my novel is coming along nicely. Of course I wish the pace was a little faster, but all in all I'm happy with the progress. I have the first five chapters of my novel completed. I let some willing souls beta-read them for me (thanks to you all). The response has been positive so far.

My story 'A Taste' hasn't been touched in months. I blame it on my novel; I've been spending all my writing time on that. I may actually put the novel on the back burner this weekend and try working on the short story for a change of pace. As I said before, the first draft is complete, so I have to concentrate on adding a bit more color to it.

As I was working on my story this morning, I took a step back and thought about my particular writing process...that it might be interesting to talk about. Why? Because I don't really like it that much. But since it has worked for me so far, I won't be changing it anytime soon.

To me, the ideal style would be to crank out an entire story in a way that's akin to carving a wooden sculpture with an ax, wildly chopping away until a rough, vague idea of what was intended stands before me. Then, only when the course has been charted from beginning to end, would I go back and etch with a fine blade until the masterpiece I envisioned comes to life.

How does that differ from my method, you ask? This is generally how things go (don't laugh): I first define the purpose for the chapter, what the chapter needs to accomplish in the grand scheme of the story (so far...nothing unusual). Then I start writing, hoping to do what I mentioned above...write like a mad man until I reach the end, saving the fine-tuning for a later date. I can get through a few paragraphs in that manner if I'm lucky...a few sentences if I'm not. The next thing I do is reread what I wrote and fine-tune it to no end until I am absolutely satisfied that it is as perfect as it can be. 

After that, I write some more in that lovely, loose fashion until I find myself compelled to revisit the very first sentence and reread the entire thing again. I again make my myriad of edits and updates until I am thrilled with the results. So it goes until I finally carve out an entire chapter. I feel like I'm knitting a sweater, always tightening the stitches that I already completed, while the rest of the threads dangle hopelessly below. Because of this insane method, each chapter takes weeks upon weeks to complete. On the plus side, once a chapter is done the subsequent drafts are little more than touch ups.

If there are any other writers out there reading this, I'd be curious to your process. How to you pull the stories from your mind and pour them on the paper? In dribs and drabs or by the pail full?

Thanks for reading!

-- Tim


  1. It took me nearly 10 years to finish my novel, and I can't say I left the fine tuning until the end. I would write reams when I am so inspired and then it can be forgotten for months, then I go over and over fine tuning and reading it to make sure it makes sense before I move on to the next section. I wrote in the first person from the female perspective and the male (one chapter each) and my chapters ended when I knew instinctively that I needed to move onto the next, not sure if you can get more loose than that!

    1. Thanks for the comment. I feel your pain! It's those moments where I stare doe-eyed at the page, no idea where to go, that I go back, reread and edit, edit, edit.

      It was suggested to me that I try doing NanoWrimo this year in order to help silence my internal editor. 50,000 words in a month is a bit daunting and is the complete antithesis of my writing style. I think I'm going to give it a shot.