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My attention has been pulled in a thousand different directions lately, and writing has suffered the most. Not much blogging, very little fiction. Much pondering of fiction though. I seem to have developed some sort of process for long pieces of fiction.

  1. Come up with an idea: a setting, a scene, a person, a phrase.
  2. Write for a while. This seems to be around 20-40,00 words. This is where the character development, world building, and plotting happen.
  3. After I’ve written long enough to have a feel for the characters and some idea what happens in the plot, stop and write a synopsis/outline. By this point I know what’s going to happen and how it will all end.
  4. Go back through the first chunk. Some of it will be useless, a lot of it will be wrong. Revise the best bits to make them fit with my new understanding of the shape of the book.
  5. Finish writing the first draft, really a first-and-a-half draft after the initial reworking.
  6. Revise, revise, revise.

It seems a bit presumptuous to declare that this is how I do it, since I haven’t finished anything longer than 60,000 words, but I thought it might be a useful record of what I’m doing right now. The current big project is in stage 4. I know how it goes together, and how it ends. Somehow it developed a Theme, but I have it on good authority that it will probably be okay anyway (scroll down to the listed comments).

The fiction momentum is starting to come back. I got a short story finished this weekend – it had been sadly without an ending for about a month – and it will be going out as soon as I give it a good proofreading. Another longer piece is almost done with its major revision and ready for resubmission somewhere. Wish me luck.

Friday evening I attended a reading and signing – the book launch party for The Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory. He held an after-party, and I was amused to learn that he’s only a couple blocks away. It was much fun, and very geeky. (Venn diagrams!) I’m very happy to find a congenial local SFF author. (Not that I know any uncongenial local authors; before Friday I didn’t know any.) I had a long and entertaining conversation over wine with one of the other guests at the party about being a scientist and writing science fiction. He’s a scientist, not an author, but was very interested in how one influences the other, as am I. (Note to self: I am a writer because I write works of fiction and non-fiction, and finish them, and send them out into the world. Not having a paid fiction publication yet doesn’t make that any less true. Honest.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the evening, and unusually for me was there until the end of the party. Daryl sent me home with half a chocolate cake! It wasn’t bribery, because I would have encouraged you all to check out The Devil’s Alphabet and his earlier novel Pandemonium anyway, but chocolate never hurts. Daryl also has some short fiction online.