March 30, 2022

All Part of the Process

It's been months since I posted anything about writing, but that doesn't mean I haven't been doing anything about writing. What I've been doing, though, is certainly more "about" writing than actual writing. But that's part of the process, and I am slowly (always too slowly) continuing work on the novel I started in November.

At the beginning of this year, I reread the scenes and brainstorms that made up my NaNoWriMo draft, and I was pleased to discover a lot of it was pretty good. It was a mess, but a promising mess. I liked the characters I'd started to develop, and I had ideas about how to further complicate their relationships and make their lives more difficult. (Sorry, characters. I do like you, I promise!) The story world and premise still interested me, and I was excited to figure out more details. In January, I thought I'd take care of a bit of research, sketch an outline, and be ready to start writing a new draft in a few weeks.

Well. I guess if I didn't have an eternally optimistic outlook on my writing, I wouldn't be able to keep going. Because of course it's been rather more than a few weeks, and I haven't started that new draft. But I have done things!

→ I researched many topics extensively, including more than a few topics that are largely irrelevant to the novel.

→ I began an outline but couldn't decide how to refer to the characters since I wasn't sure about the hastily chosen names in the NaNo draft.

→ I renamed all my characters, some multiple times. (Sorry again, characters.)

→ I reorganized my notes, some multiple times.

→ I learned how to use Scrivener features I hadn't tried before, and then let enough time pass without using them that I may have to learn again.

→ I mused about the world of my story, producing thousands of words that won't go into the draft. (This is a for-real accomplishment and essential step.) Some of the worldbuilding even drew on a portion of that extensive research!

→ I felt overwhelmed at the thought of the work ahead of me, while simultaneously imagining the joy of having the work behind me. Now I just have to figure out how to insert myself into the middle part.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ Alexandra Alter at the New York Times looks at how writers are incorporating the pandemic into their novels: "Given how much the virus has dominated our lives, a flood of pandemic fiction is perhaps inevitable. And several authors said they believe it is necessary, noting that unlike the fire hose of news coverage about Covid, which can leave readers feeling numb and overwhelmed, fiction can provide a way to process the emotional upheaval of the past two years."

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