Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Questions of Process

Every once and a while a reader will e-mail me a question about my process. I thought I'd answer a few of them here.

So when do your do most of your writing? Do you follow a strict schedule, or do you work in spurts?

Whenever HE sleeps

He, of course, is my son Mason. I write after he goes to sleep at night, which is any time after 7:30 p.m.

I'm such a morning person that switching to evening writing has been a battle, honestly. My brain really wants to shut off when his does, because, like him, I'm up at 5:30 a.m. That's a long day. But, I'm finally getting used to it. Mostly.

Though there's still too much consumption of caffeine involved. I tend to wake up much harder than I used to, thanks to the necessity of forcing my body to accept a later bedtime.

Are the stories any easier to get down on paper as you write and publish more, or is it just a matter of your productivity level each day?

I wish I could I could say that writing gets easier the more you write, but that's simply not true. Maybe if I were already a master, but, despite several books under my belt, I'm still learning. I think writing is a lot like carpentry. I've just gotten to the point where I can make a really great bookcase and sell it to someone, but I'm not quite up to say, carving a piano, you know? There's still A LOT for me to learn. I think, actually, that's one of the things I like about writing: that there will always be room for improvement, things to learn how to better express. I can't see myself getting bored by this profession, honestly.

Lots of rewriting? I never could stand rewrites in school. I guess that's why I'm a reader, not a writer.

LOTS of rewrites, yes. I rewrite constantly as I write.

I talk about it as "one step forward, two steps back." I always reread what I wrote the night before, and then plunge into the new stuff. PLUS, I have this bizarre habit of getting 2/3rds into a novel and figuring out what the book is "about." Then I end up going back to the beginning and re-writing the whole damn thing from the start.

Oh, and then there's the rewrites that I do for my editor. She typically sends me an "editor's letter" (it's actually an email that's anywhere from 3 to 12 pages, single-spaced printed out) outlining line by line where she wants more (or less) information, character development, etc. Then I get to do more rewriting when I get the copy-editor's notes. By the time the book is at the printer... it's been gone over several times.

And STILL there are typos. Pisses me off. :-)

So... what's your process like?

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