It’s all in your brain now and time to transfer your novel from thoughts to words in print. So…what’s next?
For me, and again I want to suggest that my way is only one of many, the next step is to determine a writing style. Don’t get me wrong, you still have a story to tell. You still have to put things down to tell that story. However, the first draft is just the beginning. Even when your book is complete, it will be reviewed, edited and changed many times before you can get it published. The question here is, what’s MY method of writing so as to make the whole process both functional and fun.
Stephen King says that he doesn’t worry about editing. To him the most important aspect of writing is getting the story out of his head and on to paper. He believes that the faster you can write down your ideas, the better your story will come together. On the other hand, from personal experience, I think it also creates a huge amount of work in the end correcting, editing, and everything necessary to clean up your mistakes.
Dean Koontz told me that he writes one page at a time and then may edit that page six to ten times or more until it’s perfect in his mind before he moves on to the next page. When he’s finished with his manuscript, there is very little editing needed so he can then move on to the next book.
Personally, I’ve tried it both ways and don’t like either. They are good for each author because that is their style. For me, I like using a combination of both. The idea of writing non-stop is something I like. As a writer, it just flows out of my head and then I can move on.
The problem with that style for me, is that if I don’t go back and review what I’ve written soon after I write it, I will sometimes go off on a tangent and don’t realize it until I’ve spent a lot of time working on things that need eliminated. Also, when I use that method, there are issues; story aspects I want to say, but when I write them down the first time, the words aren’t near as perfect as I would like them to be.
Using the Dean Koontz method doesn’t work for me either. Taking the time to go over and over something has a tendency to make me forget the next part or the order of things I want to say on the next page.
From a purest style, I would think Koontz’s method is better than the King method. But as a writer, if I were to have to work that way, I would more than likely never have completed my first book.
My solution, at least the one that fits me, is to incorporate both ideas. I write a page or two with each setting. When the thought is complete and the flow is such that I am ready to move to the next scene, I stop and take the time to read what I just wrote. I read it word for word and then again sentence by sentence.
By doing that, by focusing the majority of my time getting my thoughts on paper, the story comes together for me. However, I am also managing the content and flow in order to stay on track. It works for me. Something else may work for you.
Very few people have the time or inclination to sit for days working on their great work of literary achievement. Most of us, I believe, have to do this a piece at a time. Figure out what you need to make it work for you.
The key, here, is to make sure you do the things necessary to insure that tomorrow you’ll want to do it all over again.
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