The Pre-Write

Well, all right. Got to the Mac and opened up And/News for the first time in quite a while. I’ve been on vacation from writing for a while, but I’m ready to start up again now.

Tonight I didn’t actually start writing, but I got everything in order to begin tomorrow. I read enough to figure out where I was in the story, and checked with the running outline to see where I was supposed to go and added some material so I will know where to start. I call it a running outline because as I think of things, I go and type them in where it should approximately go in the book. Then when I get to that section, I write it, typing over my earlier notes, sometimes incorporating them directly into the book. So the outline is organic and grows, but by the time the book is done, it’s gone. Like performance art.

As I have chronicled elsewhere on this site, I don’t generally work from an outline. When I start a novel, I have the opening scene in my head and how the book is to end. It’s that huge expanse in the middle that’s a mystery. So I start writing. While writing, things begin to fall into place, and I start to make notes at the end of the document file. These notes slowly turn into an outline. And generally, by the time I pass the 200 or 250 page mark, pretty much the entire book has fallen into place. Of course, things change, and the ending may be different, but it’s all part of the journey.

So tomorrow the first words of progress will go in, and we’ll be off.

All I have to do between now and then is dig out my Robert Palmer’s Greatest Hits CD (or whichever collection it is). I’m not particularly a fan, but early in the writing it occurred to me that the female lead was. So for fun I bought a Robert Palmer hits CD to play sometimes when writing. It’s kind of different, and evokes her spirit rather nicely.

Here’s some stats on where I am now in And/News. I’ll report in my progress after each writing session:

Chapter: 6 (I had just started – a mere two pages in)
Page: 157 (Chapters are running about 30 pages each)
Words: 37,788

A note here that these numbers may fluctuate at times by going down even though I report progress writing. Remember I am writing over the running outline. I will also do things like go back in the book and add a scene that will tie in with what I am about to write or have just written. I may also edit, delete, cut and/or paste on the fly. So even though the numbers might go down, progress is still being made.

Until tomorrow, then.

NP – Gerry Rafferty, City to City


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