* process … in Write Away by Elizabeth George

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 9, 2007

·     learning something new in writing the novel is a source of energy for the writer  ·        the original idea prompts questions which expand the simple idea into a more complicated story idea  ·      next is research; identify what needs to be learned in order to tell the story  ·     research the specific locations where the story will take place  ·    details about where the characters live adds verisimilitude  ·      specific details: kinds of shops, kinds of houses, types of trees and plants, sounds, smells  ·    take camera and tape recorder on research hikes. Photograph constantly and speak notes onto tape. Transcribe notes every night.  ·     Talk to people, tape record everything  ·     next: create characters – generic list – names! The name of the character is the first chance to position the reader’s attitude toward that character. ·     Say the character’s name aloud – the  reader will.  ·     Write freely about each character, touching every area of their development and lives; develop a voice for each character; 3-4 page document on each character. What drives that character?  ·    Re-read these character analyses when writing.  ·        the deeper the character analyses, the more plot elements jump out  ·    consider how characters’ lives interlock, what the subplots might be  ·    doing the character analysis first allows the writing to be about art and not about craft.  ·      Having created all of the characters, I know their worlds and can create exact settings (not generic) for each   ·   render the setting with as much authenticity as the characters and events  ·   create settings – plan physical layout – each building, connections ·   develop a place I can own on paper, so the reader can experience the setting  ·     step outline – quickly list all the events in the story that can be generated from the primary event and that have causal relationships between them  ·      place these events in the best dramatic order – an order that allows the story to keep opening up and not shutting down  ·   make sure I maintain dramatic questions and do not play my hand too soon  ·    running plot outline – a present tense account of what’s going to happen in a scene, including point of view, stream of consciousness, how can I bring it to life  ·    bullet points for each scene  ·  I see the scene playing out in my mind – do this for every scene in the step outline  ·     rough draft – having done all the advance work, I can now involve myself in the sheer artistry of writing  ·    there are surprises and changes – new ways to steer the story, new elements, new dramatic questions, new ideas  ·   move back and forth – step outline, running plot outline, actual writing – write 5 pages per day  ·   read the hard copy of the rough draft; make no changes in the text; make notes about weaknesses, repetitions, places where story is not clear, where character does not emerge well  ·     I write myself an editorial letter, a guide to the 2nd draft  ·        write 2nd draft on the hard copy (not computer, can’t see it all at once on computer); about 50 pages per day  ·    revise manuscript; give to cold reader for an honest evaluation; with two sets of questions, one to have before reading and one to see after reading.  ·   Take comments, 3rd draft, send to editor  ·    Writing is a job like any other  ·   195. mentions Richard Marek  ·        196. examine every facet of character’s lives, needs, personalities, behavior prior to writing a single word of the novel  ·     write a minimum of 5 pages per day  ·   write every day (even on vacation) – stay situated in the novel – my novels are large, long and complicated  ·   Clear your life of the things that keep you from writing


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