Writing involves a lot of stuff that isn't writing!

Ed
Eddy
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Mon Oct 18, 2010 1:34 am Post

I'm getting further into my first novel. The longest thing I've written before was a short story. Having delved into various sites and online resources to help me come up with a method that works for me, I'm now on the (probably fairly standard) approach involving lots of outlines and index cards, placeholder scenes, fragments of draft, 'properly' drafted early scenes, research, more research, character outline and subplot folders as well as maintaining a little journal of sorts inside Scriv.

Phew! It's a lot of work isn't it. Enjoyable, for sure. But the more I do, the more I realise I'm going to have to do. I can see why some people would get discouraged.

Anyway, no real point to this post other than to have a little break in the middle of a session working on those outline index cards and tidying up my character profiles.

I never realised, in my naivety, how much work that isn't actually writing is involved in writing a novel. If I had written as many words in my manuscript as I've written in the meta-data, back-stories, journal, research and outlines then I'd probably be a good couple of chapters further in!

Right. Back to it :)

Eddy
"Writerʼs block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something." - Hugh MacLeod

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kirkesque
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Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:45 am Post

I've always found it funny when, in a social gathering, the inane question is asked, "What do you do?" (as if what someone does is their job and their job is the substance of who they are) and the answer comes out, "I'm a writer." At which point one of the most common responses is: "Oh, I've thought about writing a novel. One day I'll get around to doing that." (Worse is: "I've got an idea for a story. I could have you write it and we'll split the money 50-50.") These replies have the underlying belief that writing is simple and just something you sit down and type up a novel.

Any writing takes time and effort. Good writing is probably something like 10-to-1 research and preparation to actual writing time.

I've always enjoyed the research. I've always enjoyed the writing. But then, I enjoy being a hermit with ideas, characters, and situations with undefined edges.

Good luck with your novel. Stick to it for as long as you are ultimately satisfied in working on it. But remember to finish it at some point. :D

~k
"Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other.
It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words.
My language trembles with desire."
— Roland Barthes

Ed
Eddy
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Mon Oct 18, 2010 4:37 am Post

kirkesque wrote:Good luck with your novel. Stick to it for as long as you are ultimately satisfied in working on it. But remember to finish it at some point. :D

Thanks! I am firmly resolved, but more to the point actually working on it and shallow though it may be, I find that having Scriv to work with is beneficial in the extreme as there is so much stuff to correlate, organise, re-order etc. It would be doable on paper or in a word processor but it would be a lot more work and require a mind more ordered than mine is.

I'm also doing it for the love of it and the urge to achieve completion as opposed to any aspirations as crude as fame or fortune.

Your post put me in mind of this old joke:

Person 1: "I'm writing a novel"
Person 2: "That's a co-incidence. Neither am I"

I kinda like that ;-)

Eddy
"Writerʼs block is just a symptom of feeling like you have nothing to say, combined with the rather weird idea that you SHOULD feel the need to say something." - Hugh MacLeod

mi
michaelbywater
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Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:23 pm Post

kirkesque wrote:At which point one of the most common responses is: "Oh, I've thought about writing a novel. One day I'll get around to doing that."
~k


Yes.

Or: "I've often thought I could sit down and write book." So get a godamn chair then.

Or (this really happened):

HIM: What do you do?
ME: Writer. And you?
HIM: Neurosurgeon. But one day I'll write a book. I think everyone's got a book in them
ME: Really? I think everyone's got a stereotactic SOL resection in them, too.
HIM: [PAUSE] Oh, excuse me, there's Gerald.

Wonderful. I am my dears a MARTYR to esprit d'escalier but on this occasion God guided my words.

Hu
Hugh
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Mon Nov 08, 2010 6:27 pm Post

:mrgreen:
'Listen, some quiet night, when you've shirked your work that day. Do you hear
that distant, almost inaudible clicking sound? That's one of your
competitors, working away in the night in
Paris or London or Erie, PA.'