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Monday, March 21, 2016

Writing Adventures: Part 2

This post was originally published on my blog, Delirious Documentations, on December 15, 2015.

Click here to read Part 1.

After I graduated college, it was exciting to have more time to focus on this writing project of mine--but it also took some getting used to. Suddenly I was able to often spend hours at a time on a project that I had once added to with one tiny piece every couple months at a time. I needed focus now and I needed organization and I needed constant, renewable drive. Music helped some; I'll do a separate post with the book's playlist later, but for now I'll just say that Flyleaf's Memento Mori is so very in sync with this book.

By this point, my book was divided into twenty sections that were each in turn divided into three sections (one per each of the three narrators). Some of the sections, though, had as little as one sentence, while others were fully developed but were only a page or so long. So I developed a method of adding to it all. I went from beginning to end, sub-section to sub-section, and edited the parts I had already written while also adding a pre-determined length to each section.

I did this a few times, slowly adding length so that I could end up with a decent word count. Each time I would finish, I would realize I wasn't there yet and needed more: my book is based less on plot than on imagery, so I had to fill in and brush on details (and even a sprinkling of plot) to make it full. I kept going until I had reached a mild 71,000 words and enough coherency and cohesiveness and all that was left was another edit for grammar/typos and any final adjustments.

But let's back up a step to the strangest part. At about the period where I was able to spend more time on writing, I encountered a certain difficulty with the third narrator (who is the only present day narrator). She used to be a twenty-something. But I was beginning to feel like she was glaring at me, accusing me of not getting her story right; I was afraid to work on her sections because I didn't know what was wrong. And then it hit me. She wasn't in her twenties at all: she's middle-aged. And then some other pieces quickly adjusted to fit in with the different age and suddenly everything was smooth again, so swiftly. This, in turn, meant that I emphasized the youngness of the second narrator (whom I picture to be around sixteen or so) more than I had before (in a positive way, though). And the fact that the three narrators aren't the same age somehow became more cohesive than if they were all, say, in their twenties.

I spent a lot of time while I was working on this book hating it: I think that's just my style. In college, as soon as I would finish writing a paper, I would hate it but it would be too late. So I would turn it in and try and not think about it anymore; but when I got it back, I ended up with an A and realized my hate was unfounded. The hate, hopefully, just means that I can keep a critical eye and change what needs to be changed and make better what is okay but could be wonderful. So ultimately I came to create a novel that I thought made sense as a piece of writing, as something that could be talked about and written about.

Next up: trying to convince outside sources that this novel was worth publishing.

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