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The various and sundry summer vacations are over, and now it's time to get back to writing. I am no longer doing morning pages; I am now starting to "write the novel," and that means organizing the time I spend "writing the novel." To that end, I lurked in the bookstores of Santa Cruz earlier this week looking for books on ways to organize the hours, days, and weeks as the first draft of a novel unfolds. I found a couple hopeful volumes. Reading one of them on the plane back from California, I got a bit annoyed at the ink spilled on what is obviously advice to the first-time writer. But I can skip that part and pull out of it what is useful.

Taking my novel in at least semi-organized steps is important to me because I need a more efficient way to write. I have been writing fiction for sixteen years (or three decades, if you go back to my teenaged attempts), and my approach has always been to just "plunge in" to the actual prose and see where the damned thing goes, how it evolves. That's very right-brained and all, but I end up with huge casts of characters and meandering plots and 235,000-word drafts that can't be organically cut down. This time...this time I really need to plunk out something I can send to an agent or publisher without them laughing in my face.

So when I say "writing the novel" in quotes like I did above, it's because many of the steps won't involve writing actual scenes or snippets that could end up in the story, but outlining, brainstorming, writing background details that will never appear in print. And just so that won't be completely meandering, I'm looking for ways to approach the process in steps, understanding I can stray from them any time I want if they become too much of a straightjacket.

A third book on writing I picked up in Santa Cruz was about marketing oneself and ones writing, and that's important, too. I'm still a bit undecided about what to do with my first novel. It is very, very good, but it's long, and I'm still leaning towards alternative publication methods, so I want to learn about what's out there, and if on-line/electronic or self-publishing are options for me.

So this week's activities: Wednesday, I recopied the notes from that prepare-for-a-novel-in-21-days seminar I went to from my notebook onto my computer. Thursday, because I was unsure exactly what to do next, I did the Day 1 exercise from that 21-day program. Friday, I did Day 2.

It's a start.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 18th, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
good luck with it all
Jul. 18th, 2009 06:46 pm (UTC)
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )