Writing Process: Storming the Castle versus Waging a Prolonged Siege

So I stared at The Stupid Novel, poked at it, prodded it, and kicked it, and it sprawled there, unmoving and lifeless.

Not good.

My difficulty completing The Stupid Novel, and all the novel predecessors languishing unfinished and pathetic on my hard drive, has got me wondering if I’ve been brash in my presumption that “writing is writing,” and if there are fundamental differences in strategies for writing a longer work versus a short story that I don’t know/have the experience to implement. Makes me wanna do a study comparing and contrasting the writing styles and processes of novelists versus short story writers…which sadly sounds hella more fun than thrashing alive The Stupid Novel.

But The Stupid Novel must be resurrected. So I decided to take my friend, Ari Marmell, up on his offer to rant and vent and whimper talk shop about novel-writing. And our back and forth has crystallized a niggling sense of absent voice I’ve been trying to ignore.

My frequent breaks from this project have inevitably blunted some of the internal tangibility I had for my characters: how they think and react, what they’d say and do, who they are. I wanted to focus on putting new words on the page, rather than getting bogged down in rehashing/revising what I’ve already written, so I’ve been avoiding a re-read of the earlier stuff. But it’s past time for me to admit that I’m beyond “bogged” and into “complete paralysis.”

Once more unto the breach. Rah.

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2 Responses to Writing Process: Storming the Castle versus Waging a Prolonged Siege

  1. Janice Clark says:

    I my admittedly limited experience, writing a novel requires a LOT of re-reading. In order to maintain a character’s unique voice, you have to immerse yourself in his dramatic role and become that character. If there’s a long gap between writing sessions, your concept of the character may drift, and you need refresh your memory to get yourself back on track. It helps if you have a friend who can double as a drama coach. My grandson, who was active in high school theater when I was working on a novel, was intrigued with my villain and made me rewrite the villain’s “big scene” at least ten times until it was, in his arrogant teenage words, “good enough for a rough draft.”

  2. Pingback: So my creativity is alive after all « Accidentally Famous

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