Monday, July 16, 2012

Organizing the chapters

So begins one of my favorite aspects of writing a novel; organizing the chapters. This is when I take each separate character and their plotline and read it all in one string instead of being spaced out in the book. This allows me to flush out any inconsistencies and make sure the story stays true and along the proper path. I first did this when I wrote DEGENERATES That book has so many characters and plotlines that it was nearly impossible to keep track of everything. I literally wrote seven separate stories, one for each character, before melding them together to form a coherent novel. This is what I’m doing right now for IMAGINATION. Once I get the characters in order, it’s just a matter of connecting them with a few key intro sentences and, wallah, the book is nearly complete. Why do I say “nearly”? Because I still do two more final reads. The first final, I’ll read half the book in one sitting at a relatively slow pace looking for any mistakes or errors no matter minute or insignificant. The next sitting, I will read the second half, looking for the same things. Then I put the book aside for one week give or take a day and concentrate on marketing and promoting, putting the manuscript totally out of my mind. Then comes the final read day. I’ll plan it on a day when I know I won’t be disturbed and have nothing pressing to do outside of the house. I’ll wake up early, get a steaming cup of coffee, settle into my comfy chair in the sunroom, place my laptop computer on my thighs, and read as much as I can before my eyes bug out or I stop for lunch. I’ll read the book like someone who bought the book; fast and looking to be entertained. I’ll only pause if something really terrible stops me. If I do have to rewrite a paragraph and shift some things around during this phase, I will start the entire process over again, reading from page one. I’ll do this until I can read the entire book in one sitting without stopping to fix anything. Sound like a long process? It is. I’ve written entire drafts of novels faster than it took me to consider the book finished after re-reads. You might say I’m a perfectionist, but I’m really not. For me, finishing a book is like setting a child out into the world. I want the book/child to be the best it can be and shine far above all the other competition. So, as I take another sip of coffee and look over these pages, I won’t know if IMAGINATION will be done in a week or a year. Let’s hope it’s the previous, I’ve got lots more new books to write.