When I met up with an old friend this weekend, she asked how a novel could go through 10 or more revisions and what that looks like. She was really interested in the nitty-gritty. Explaining my process often makes me aware of how messy it is, how unlike the organized planning, outlining and drafting that my friend was expecting. I do outline, but not until after I have a rough draft, and then I routinely throw out large chunks and rewrite new ones.
Her questions made me wonder how I… Continue reading
My editor Kate Jacobs and I keep in touch regularly about my progress with my drafts, and we mutually agree about when I have one due, based on what stage the book is in and how much revising needs to happen.
For instance, I’m currently working on the 5th draft of Vault 3, and when I began it back in July, I thought I could turn it in by today. I started realizing last weekend, however, that I was… Continue reading
Since it’s summer and I spent decades in school, the schedule in my bones tells me I ought to be on vacation. I’m not, of course. I have work like the other grownups, so my bones have to be quiet and let me concentrate.
Today, I’m working on draft 5 of Vault 3, and the current challenge has to do with taking my existing scenes deeper and finding a way to thread in one of my characters who has so far preferred to stay on the sidelines. It’s tricky… Continue reading
Part of the trouble with writing a new book involves unlayering a new side of yourself, a thinking you’ve never tried. These characters haven’t existed before in this way, for this book, and the sole place to look them up is inside, in the foggy places.
For me, it’s like meeting an unknown version of myself and gradually becoming her. My Vault 2 people are back there in my mind. I saw their exterior actions and speeches when they showed up in the first draft, but now as… Continue reading
Since my first editor originally told me that the manuscript for my new novel was due to go to copyedits last October, and my second editor told me in early November not to worry about deadlines and take my time rewriting the last act of the novel, (about 130 pages), I assumed that my book had been bumped a season to 2015. Season bumps have happened to me before, so I didn’t think much about it.
Then, in mid-January, when I… Continue reading
When you throw a stone in the water, the ripples spread outward in predictably widening circles. When you throw a stone in a novel, it has ripple effects, too, especially if the stone kills somebody off. This makes sense as long as I’m writing from the beginning to the end of a novel, in order, but sometimes when I’m revising, I add an event later in the book and realize I have to go back in, earlier, to set it up. In such a case, I’m working… Continue reading