It has taken me 584 blog posts, all of which are supposed to focus on my writing process, to actually write about my writing process…which is now part of the process.In writing a novel, I often find it overwhelming to take on the book all at once, or even a chapter. It’s easier, and more enjoyable, to deal with the work in fragments – a piece of dialogue, a description, a concept – treating each as a cell, whole unto itself.
As I develop and read through each draft, instead of becoming weighed down by the tsunami of things that are not working, I take each one at a time and make notes:
a. Uumlak needs detail. What does this even look like?
b. Dialogue between Dee and Nico needs to be moved. Where?
c. Qoorog needs to be mentioned three-five times earlier in the text.
After compiling a list, I email it to myself and then flesh out a couple of items every few days and email those back until I have a set of four or five back-and-forth replies. Once most of the issues have been addressed, I format that and insert each section back into the text. I’ll give myself a day or two before reading through the chapter, trying to gain momentum, and compose a new list of issues to tackle as I go. And then it starts anew.
It’s an effective process because I don’t focus on where I am in the book, nor how many more words I need to compose to get to the end. It’s just the scene, the moment, the thing itself, and that is almost always a joy to do. (And even if none of it works, at least I received a few emails that I actually read.)