Sunday, December 6, 2009

What Works For Me

I create my first drafts in longhand. They are, afterall, extensions of the "free writing" method I use for generating ideas. When I reach the end of the story, I transcribe it, chapter by chapter, onto the computer.

I don't hurry this step. I am revising as I go. This is the stage I'm at now with my new novel. I hope to finish this step by the end of the year, but there's something to be said for moving slowly. I like to hold each chapter in my head overnight, to listen to the voices of the characters. It's surprising how little inconsistencies will reveal themselves, or new plot twists spring, unexpected, to mind.

Eventually, I will make a hard copy of this second draft and make further revisions to it in pencil, which is erasable. This may sound cumbersome to you. But although the word processor is wonderful for giving a writer the ability to move whole paragraphs around or delete them altogether, I still like the heft of manuscript pages.

When my hard copy becomes so cluttered with edits that I can hardly find my way through it, I'll transcribe this third draft onto the computer and, from that point, all the editing will be done there.

It works for me.


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