Thursday, December 3, 2009

How Do I Do This Again?

Ritratto di Mia Moglie --Mario-Tozzi-1895-1979 After I write this (right now it’s Wednesday morning), I’m going to knock out revisions on two separate books, then get back to writing my second book of the Memphis Barbeque series.

This will be my 5th book. I’ve got two books on the shelves (one of them is out of print but still out there, mainly in libraries), two books in production, and one just starting out on a Word document.

Each time I start the process I feel a little at a loss. How do I do this? How did I do it last time? Because each time I’ve written a book, the process has been slightly different.

I try different approaches to see what I like best. The only problem is that sometimes I can’t remember what worked.

I’ve written books all the way straight through (A Dyeing Shame, Pretty is as Pretty Dies, Delicious and Suspicious). I didn’t even stop for chapter breaks—just put them in during revisions.

For Progressively Dead (in production), I wrote every chapter separately –I numbered out 18 chapters and just randomly picked one and wrote in it for that day. This was an odd and disjointed process and I’m not sure why I chose it. It took forever to work out the transitions between scenes and chapters.

For two books, if I got stuck at any point, I started writing a different part of the book until I was ready to tackle the part that stumped me.

The other two books, I just marked *** where I got stuck and picked up at the next scene and continued writing.

I always have a “random” file to put in all the disjointed ideas that I have when I’m writing a book. Many of them I’ll weave into the manuscript at some point.

Outlines never work for me. I have a half-finished 6th book that I’ve just put in the graveyard. Too pat when I’d outlined it. I’ll never outline again (except for my little mini-outlines where I sketch out the next scene, chapter, etc.)

I’m going to ignore my lost feeling. There’s nothing like getting words on the page to get rid of it—whatever the method is.

What works for you? Do you experiment with your process? Do you remember what worked?