Ben Crowder

Two months ago I posted about the novel I’m currently working on and mentioned how smoothly it was going with my shiny new writing process.

The next day, said process stopped working.

Irrationally, some part of me believed my blog post was what botched it, which in hindsight is ridiculous. If a process is so fragile it crumbles when described, I submit that there are probably larger issues to deal with. (In my case, the method wasn’t actually broken at all. More on that momentarily.)

Then I came across my friend Liz’s writing blog the other day and remembered how much I like reading blogs about writing fiction. To join in on the fun, then, I’ll be casting aside my half-formed superstitions (good riddance!) and writing more about writing on here.

And now for a totally-not-superstitious-anymore update on the novel, which has no title yet:

My process wasn’t broken after all. I got stuck, yes, but some rough brainstorming and outlining got me out of it soon enough, and the alternation of discovery writing and outlining has kept me going since then.

This stream of words I’m calling a first draft is currently 167 pages long (!), and I’m only about 8,000 words away from this being the longest thing I’ve ever written. (Back in 2007 I technically finished NaNoWriMo with a book called Out of Time, but that wretched thing was an utter disaster of a story, so let’s just forget it ever happened.)

As for the original plan to finish this first draft by mid-July…[checks notes]…that’s not going to happen. But I expect to hopefully/maybe/probably finish in a month or so, at my current rate of 1,000 words per weekday. No idea yet how long revising will take, but I’m still hopeful that I’ll have a finished book sometime in the fall.

My aim with this draft is just to get the story down; polishing the prose will come in a later pass. This is often discouraging, though, when I read great books with sparkling, vibrant prose and then turn back to the pallid, dead-fish words I’m wringing out of my hands. But I will persist. (Cf. that Guy Gavriel Key quote I posted last week.)

As of today, I’m starting on chapter 17. I have no outline (yet) and no idea where the story goes after the scene I wrote yesterday. It’s a big ball of terrifying and delightful fun. Back into the fray…


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