Advice for Writers

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When I started Serpent’s Smile with the “one chapter per week” goal, my writing process included a rewrite and an edit before each post. That was how I blogged – or at least how I tried to blog.

For the blogs, what I discovered is that the “process” of writing is often about discovery. That is, I start writing one subject but after a lot of tweaking and tuning, something different – a different subject – emerges. It’s like you start a carving of a duck but, after whacking away at it for an extended period, a bearded gnome is revealed.

I suppose I should hold back blog posts until the figure is fully revealed but the problem is I can’t always tell when its not finished. Sometimes the duck looks pretty good but a week later, I see this beard hanging out. And when I go in and try to clean it up, the gnome climbs out.

Writing the novel is forcing a very different process. What I’m finding is that as chapters are written, they sometimes have seeds that have sprouted from earlier chapters. The problem is I didn’t know to plant the seeds when writing the earlier chapter. They aren’t there yet. So, to make the story sensible as the chapters appear, I insert the needed background in the new chapter and make an off-line note to myself to later go back, lift out the background material, trim it to size and insert it in the earlier chapter where it really belongs.

The bottom line is that editing of individual chapters before all chapters are written is turning out to be a waste of time. At this point, I can see they’re all going to get some rather significant surgery once all the chapters have made their initial appearance.

This is, therefore my dear readers, a bit of an apology.

If you are following Spence, Sartaq and Megyn as each chapter is posted here, be advised you will see a duck. It’s a nice duck, a pretty good duck, a duck that is exciting and surprising as it waddles toward the lake. But I know now there’s a gnome inside, and it won’t be fully revealed until I can see the whole duck, find the beard and start chipping away at it.

So, rather than drafting, rewriting and then editing each chapter before posting for you to read, from here on you’ll be seeing the first drafts – spelling corrected, probably too wordy — I do run on sometimes, you know.

Months from now when the first draft is all “out there”, then the whole thing will get major surgery and you’ll see the gnome.

Or maybe an ogre.

Hopefully not a turd.

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