Yes, I know, it’s been awhile since my last post. The fact is, I’ve been pulled away and have had very little time to do much writing. This does not mean that I’ve shelved everything aside forever. In fact, I made progress yesterday on my latest novel! After having put it aside until things settled down a it, I decided I couldn’t let it sit any longer.
This post is not just about my latest project, but also a note to other authors just starting out on their first works. So here is my advice in a nutshell: Don’t let a project sit for awhile. Yes, I know this goes against some other advice of walking away to clear the mind. I admit, sometimes it is necessary. In my case, it was just that I had been too busy to focus on it. Now, I am facing the reality of trying to get back into the groove of the story. I find my ideas tend to flow better when I’m in the middle of my work. If I let it set too long, it is harder for me to get back into the process of writing. The longer it sits, the longer it will take me to get in the writing mode.
The good news is that I broke the procrastination phase I had wedged myself into and began to write again. My next novel will be a full length novel and I’m currently around 42,000 words. I tend to write a little differently than others where I like to get my structure down first.
When I think of a story, I generally know where it will begin and where it will end. I tend to get the beginning down and as I do this, additional ideas come to mind. I don’t focus on a word count goal, but instead hone in on the structure. In the end, I usually am short on word count compared to other works. This is because I don’t focus too much on the details to start with. The next phase is where more detail is drawn around the story.
With the structure in place, I then go through my story and find weak points or areas that need more detail and start the process of what I think of as the inflation phase. This is where I add meat to the story – maybe even side stories. I might even create new characters that I think the story needs to add more color.
My last phase is a cutting phase. Here I go through and cut where I think I might have added to much from the prior phase. This is what I consider the editing phase which usually turns out to be around three full edits. This is the hardest part for me, but the most necessary.
Looking at this phased approach, I would say I’m in the first phase of writing the structure. Still a long way to go, but I’m determined not to shelve it again!