Process, process, process. Or what to think about when you can’t write.

October 5th, 2019Posted by Nancy

I have many writing avoidance behaviours, honed over the long years of my block and my continuing struggles to keep up any level of productivity. One of my favourites is finding out about other people’s process, in the hopes that somewhere there is a magic bullet that will fix mine. So far, I haven’t found it.

My first few exploratory novels were written out of order. Which really means that I tended to write all the “good bits” first and then later add the connective tissue between them. Even the first half of The Night Inside was done that way. Once I got a good chunk of it under my belt and knew where it was going, I switched over to basically writing it in order. Of course, I had to rewrite the last quarter of the book because my editor felt that my desire for realism was draining a good amount of the tension out of the story. She was right, but that didn’t make the rewrite much easier.

From then on, my process was basically “start at the beginning and keep on until you get to the end.” Even Cold Hillside, with it’s alternating narrators, worked like that, though I later changed the placement of some of the Lilit chapters.

I’m currently working on two different projects. The first one (the “real” one) is referred to as The Witch Novel. It exists in three files of varying lengths, each being the story of one of the three main POV characters. One is third person past tense, one is third person present tense, and one is second person. Those were chosen simply to keep my imagination engaged but I’ve gotten used to them. At some point, I’m going to have to start interweaving the various voices to create a single narrative that takes place over roughly 80 years. Well, once I figure out exactly what the plot is, of course.

For the second project, referred to as Not The Witch Novel or The Art Colony Thing, I’ve gone back to the “start at the beginning” process. Since it was supposed to be cute, fluffy, and romantic, I figured I’d eventually switch to writing the “good parts”. Unfortunately, the story is currently neither cute nor fluffy nor particularly romantic, so who knows what the ultimate process will be.

If anyone has a magic bullet, please shoot it my way.

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