11/9/2016: Early Editing Notes

I am just now starting the post-first-draft editing process. I am finding the idea that I will have to rewrite large portions difficult. Perhaps I had unconsciously expected that I would go straight into polishing—making things beautiful, moving them where they fit—but not re-drafting what are essentially new first-draft sections. I knew, on the surface, that this would be required, but apparently, it hadn’t sunk in. But that’s what I’m going to be doing. Interesting thought. It’s good I’m doing this. So right now, I’m figuring out what parts need to be redrafted.

It’s a bit of a downer, since I had thought I was done with this part and could move to the next phase. However, perhaps that’s just wrong thinking. I am at the next part. This is significantly different from creating from nothing. I have a framework, a loose but single body of ideas, and the things I now create come from and fit into that framework. THIS is the next phase. Not the final polish, but the filling of gaps, the reworking of broken and ill-fitting pieces, and the rounding of corners. Once I get all the big stuff reworked, I get all the medium stuff reworked, then the smaller stuff, then the miniscule stuff, THEN the polish.

So… how to redraft? Do I just find the parts that don’t fit and start from scratch on them? Write from clusters, write without an end in mind, largely right-brain creation? Or do I try to figure out exactly what needs to be written, exactly what will fit, exactly the right things?

Should I read through sections and visualize what needs to change in them? Perhaps I should read through them and then do the whole first-draft style of those same sections and allow whatever needs to be put back in there back in there. Should I stick to sections in chapters, whole chapters, what? I expect having flexibility in where I change things helps. I’ll get ideas on other parts as I change things.

Another note. I keep forgetting that this is my first time writing a novel and that I’ll have to figure out what I’m doing as I go along. I keep getting road-blocked because I’m not sure how to move forward and don’t have the fearlessness, or perhaps the perception of freedom, to just plow through. (5/16/2017 The intrinsic and ill-timed requirement that what I create must be perfect stifles me more than pretty much anything else. Spackle first, then sand, then paint, then touch up. I take that back. Grab long thin things, like sticks. Put them together. Cover them with something flattish. Keep doing it, using different materials, different configurations until you end up with something to block bugs and wind and perverts. Then punch holes in your wall—just go crazy—and hang pictures and shelves and towel hooks and curtain rods all over. Take things off and move them. Toss some in the dumpster and get some new stuff and try those. Then Spackle the unused holes, then sand…)

At this stage, I’m not sure how much the graph/chart of themes and plot and time help me. All that stuff will probably change, and I’ll just have to make a new chart. Super annoying. Of course, it may be only as a result of the chart that I’ll see something that needs to be fixed… so yeah.

I just wrote some notes on what (my main antagonist’s) island needs to be like, what development needs to be done there. And I also have to develop magic and a ton of other stuff. I wish I had the drive to develop these open ends that I had when I was working on the game with my brother. I suspect that my addiction-breaking has something to do with my lack of motivation right now. Hopefully it ends soon. I have a lot to do.

Rather than charting, I could mark spots in the text (like &&& for finding them later) that relate to themes and then keep a paragraph-form of the developments of those things in a Word document. I would have sub categories of the various relationships of each of the themes. Of course, that means going back through the text.

On all of my developments, I need to make an action list. Otherwise I’ll just forget all the theory (inevitable) and nothing will be done.

7/19/2016: Creating By Writing

I wonder if, perhaps, my vision should not be one of writing so much as of creating. That is, I write to create. I could do other things that are creative as well. The creating is the thing, and the creating makes writing so much more wholesome to the reader.

What’s more, what if I focus all of my creation on a single point, a single secondary world and all of the laws and guidelines and mythologies therein. Wouldn’t that world be the richer for it? Wouldn’t it be more worthwhile, more engaging, more true to life and full of meaning for others (and for myself)?

Look at Tolkien’s world. His business was to create. Stories, yes, but by them he created a world, and from this world, he tells the stories that move us.

I like the idea of creating a world, and I think it’s an ideal worth pursuing. In fact, some of what I have created in the past has come to be the foundation for what I am currently writing. Perhaps this can be my starting point.

I would have to publish as I created, though not all of what I create will be publishable (assuming any is).

Of course, the downside of publishing prior to the finalizing of a world is that I can’t easily go back and edit what I’ve published if I find that the world needs changing.

Another downside—what if I get tired of my world? I read that Rowling got kind of burned out during Order. Though, with her new work on the horizon, it seems that she couldn’t stay away.

One could also look at Rowling as an example, though her progress differs greatly from Tolkien. Where he created separate mythologies and romances to bedeck his world, she created seven stories, and her world feels quite full (though perhaps not as full). I wonder how much behind-the-scenes worldbuilding she did.

But my point is this—don’t try to copy Tolkien. He did what was natural for him. For instance, he was obsessed with the languages of Middle Earth. I couldn’t do that, and I am not naturally drawn toward them. Don’t try to copy Rowling either. But perhaps a rich, developed world is worth pursuing, however I end up developing it.

Of importance in a secondary world is the appearance of historicity. That was Tolkien’s goal for his languages, or at least one of them, and I assume for his development of mythologies. Rowling also accomplished this by her exploration of government and of the school’s legacy. It’s also interesting to note that her use of names had the similar effect of consistency that Tolkien’s did, though of course without anywhere near as much development. She does it by means of what appears natural English charm and playfulness. All of her names have it, and the older ones have the air of such.