Thursday, August 26, 2010

Novel Writing Regime

I’ve finished part 4 of Gap Years and almost reached 50,000 words. I’ve settled into the routine that I developed towards the end of writing Roadmaker. Both novels are divided into parts averaging 10,000 words, divided into subsections of varying lengths. I save each part as a separate file. I try to write each subsection in one sitting so that I start each writing session on a new scene. I wrote without looking back. Only if I’m in mid-section I read the last couple of paragraphs to remind myself where I was.

At the end of section 2 I went back to edit section 1. This is a fairly light edit consisting of:

• Spelling and grammar corrections
• Changing, adding or deleting the odd word or sentence
• Checking for inconsistencies
• Adding ideas that have developed later but need to be introduced earlier

The advantage of this is that I’m reading stuff I wrote two or three months earlier, giving me a fresh perspective.

When I have a clean draft I send it off to my writing group for critiquing. I read the critiques as I receive them, to get an overall feel for the problems that are most commonly pointed out. When I have them all I sit down and go though them one at a time, making corrections and amendments to the manuscript.

I like to do this one section at a time so that any major flaws are picked up early and I can avoid them going forward. This critiqued version is then left until I finish the novel.

After each part is written, checked, critiqued and amended I then go back to the beginning for the third and final edit, by which time there is hopefully not too much to change. I found last time that the main thing I picked up on the final edit was the unnecessary words or sentences that could be deleted to tighten up the text.

I’ve read about several authors’ methods of drafting their novels, but this seems to work for me.

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