Sunday, August 26, 2007

On writing, take 2

I did a book signing the other day, and after had the opportunity to have lunch with Rob Wells. That's right The Rob Wells. It was a very nice lunch, with the exception of all of the people stopping by the table, begging for Rob's autograph, asking for a picture, giving him their baby to kiss, etc.

But in between all this, we talked a bit about the writing process. Rob read the same book I did, many years ago. Or rather I read it many years ago, I'm not sure when Rob read it. Anyway, it is a book called On Writing, by Stephen King. In it, Stephen King tells how he goes about the writing process. I've also read Orson Scott Card's book on the same subject. I am also a member of a group of authors, and here and there I hear how other people write.

I think I've decided that everybody has their own style, and there isn't a 'right way'.

So, I thought I'd share how I write. Not that it's the best way, or even a good way, just the way I do it. At first I went into great detail, but when I went back and read it, and I was bored to tears. So, here is the bulleted version.

  • When I write a book, I start at the beginning, and write all the way through. I never write chapters ahead, or start with the end. Because by the time I get there, things might have changed. Rarely do I know whats going to happen 2-3 chapters ahead.
  • I don't write much. When I sit down to write, I'm usually done in under two hours. And I write maybe once a week.
  • When I sit down, I have the whole scene in my head. I've worked it out in the past weeks or months. I think about the characters in the shower, on my way to work, while sitting in church (Ha! just kidding. Or am I?). When I'm ready to write, I've thought about it so much that it just comes out.
  • I usually don't cut much. The benefit of working it out for a month is that it's usually in good shape when I put it down on paper. Most of what I write gets in the finished product (unless my publisher cuts it because it refers to butt cheeks, in which case it appears on my blog).
  • My first 're-edit' is the hardest. After I've written I go back in a week and polish things up. My wording, tone, verbage is usually so bad that I often decide I'm a no-talent hack. I've often quit for months because I get so depressed about my ability to write, or lack thereof.
  • After the second re-edit is usually the point where I show it to somebody else.
  • Unfortunately I'm extremely motivated by external forces. So if people don't like what I've written, I'll stop for months, maybe longer. If they like it, and I can tell they really mean it, I get right back to writing. I wish it was different, but it's not. :)
  • I never force myself to write. If I do, what I write is bunk. Although it could just be that I'm lazy. Usually the characters become so vivid in my tiny, little brain, when I do write it's because I feel compelled.
  • Or maybe it's just because I'm lazy.
So, there you have it. That is why I put out a book, every other year. And the books so far have been only about 200 pages long. I'm so sloooooooow.

1 comment:

RobisonWells said...

I get so sick of kissing babies. They're usually all covered in goo.