Monthly Archives: January 2015

Editing Backlog and Writing Style

I started another book. Foolish of me. I haven’t finished editing several others. I put off starting as long as I could tolerate not writing. I just couldn’t put it off any longer. I even have another book waiting in the wings, anxious to get on stage.

As some know, I continue to teach classes at the University as I write fiction. The two are roles not compatible. Routine work, the college courses, tend to drive out time for nonroutine work, the waiting writing. It’s always the writing that suffers. I work it in when I can.

I have a plan this time. My classes start at 2:00 pm. If I arrive at the University at 11:00 am or so, I can carve out a few hours to get some writing done – at least on class days.

Letting editing pile up is like hiding dirty laundry. Eventually, you have to do it. When you do, you have taken what could have been a small task and made it into a herculean one. I keep doing that to myself – must be a character flaw.

I have finally taken the advice of a friend of mine and write in smaller amounts, write slower and edit as a go along. I write 500 words a day, the next day, before I begin creating, I edit the earlier day’s work. That way, I don’t have an ice dam of working piling up, threatening to break and flood me.

Part of learning how to write is learning what works best for you. No two writers are alike and one way of writing won’t work for another. That’s why I half listen when I go to writer’s workshops and conferences and pundits shares their way of writing the Great American Novel. It may have worked for them, but not work for me.

Sometimes, however, I pick up things. For example. I went to a workshop where I heard a western writer talk about the process he used. As he told about his practice of going to specific geographic locations where events occurred, I thought, that won’t work for me. I write fiction. How can I go to a fictional place?

Even as I was dismissed what he was saying, a part of me suggested I could find an image on the Internet that looked  like what I had in mind. That has worked for me. Shortly after, I was writing a story about a cave, Pavi’s Cave. I got a picture of a cave’s opening, then different chambers within, and used those as the basis of my descriptions.

Additionally, I thought I could do the same with characters. I can find a character that looks something like the one I have in mind and use them as my fictional character. That worked too.