Layers


Accomplished since Wednesday:

– Wrote some research notes that I’m not counting in my word count as more than 3/4 are copied and pasted.
– Saw Jupiter Ascending
– Practiced guitar
– Made macaroons
– Went on a date
– Finished covering a cord in my living room and started painting it
– Got a haircut (long overdue on that one)
– Did a load of dishes
– Worked on my paper mess
– Finished sorting through costumes
– Went to Iaido class
– Put away some clean clothes
– Watched some episodes of Homeland
– Put gas in my car
– Finished my 2015 objectives for work

So I think tonight I feel like talking a bit about my writing process. Right now I’m not putting a lot of words into my story, but I’m okay with that because that’s part of my process. Sounds weird, right?

I write in layers. My first layer is often like:

“Character A is going to do something and Character B is going to feel some way about that.”

So Layer 1 is just a simple statement to capture a very basic idea.

Layer 2 may elaborate on that further and list the different situations that scenario has spawned.

Layer 3, I actually write the scene where the characters say things, but probably not in the best words possible.

Layer 4, I often get ideas to build on the scene.

Then everything else is left to editing.

In editing, I check whether or not what I’ve written belongs in the place it is in the book. I check if it’s said the way the characters would say it (sometimes I naturally write like the character and other times I don’t right away – especially in early chapters – so then I have to go back and fix the discrepancy). I also go over it to see if I have chosen the best words to elicit the right emotions from the reader and if I’ve painted the picture I want them to see. I check obvious things like spelling and grammar last, for the most part, because it’s inefficient to correct words you may be deleting altogether. Sometimes it’s hard to resist though.

Why don’t I just write the whole thing the way a character would say it? There’s a couple of reasons for that. Sometimes I haven’t gotten to know the character well enough yet. They’re shy perhaps and are taking their time to open up to me. Another reason is that I may just be in a hurry to get the fundamentals of a scene down.

Right now I’m in research mode. I’ve seen the odd little scene in my head and written notes for those, but I haven’t seen my battle yet because I don’t know who the players are. I’m working on that though. I’m researching magical creatures and picking my teams. Who are all the players on the good side and who’s on the bad side? It’s crucial I answer that before I try to write the battle. I’m aiming to have the players figured out this week and then I should be making some serious wordcount progress.

I’m not in a hurry to reach editing though. I’ve skimmed some of my early chapters and figured out I have a lot of work ahead to make my story flow in a way that makes sense and is entertaining for the reader.

Anyway, there is a method to my madness. It’s kind of organized chaos.

Is it really Sunday already? I better get to bed.

Ciao,
R~

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5 thoughts on “Layers

  1. Interesting process. I somewhat can relate. My first draft has a lot of actions (like stereo instructions). My second draft I take the base and build it up better with details and more emotion (since the mechanics are out of the way).

    I hope things keep being productive for you. Have a great week!

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    • I should say that I haven’t finished a manuscript yet, so there’s probably tons of room to improve my process. Sometimes I just write a scene if it’s in my head too if that’s what I see.

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  2. This does sound like a good process, although I likely won’t get to any of layer two until my draft two. But whatever works, right? 🙂

    I must ask…what did you think of Jupiter Ascending? I really wanted to see it but then I kept reading bad reviews….

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