Every author’s process varies. Writing Processes are like assholes. Everyone has one, and some of them stink more than others. In this post I’ll share part of my process with you. I won’t share all of it, some parts are secret.
When I write, I write a skeleton. When I’m working on a novel I write 5 pages every day, without exception, until I’m done with a first draft. A first draft for me was about 100 pages in word. It was bare bones, dialogue and general stage directions for my characters.
During the first edit through, I add A LOT of detail. The manuscript will balloon to 200 pages in word. Keep in mind, I’m a succinct writer and the finished product of Memory Leak was 210 pages. I drew inspiration for the size of my Novel from Philip K. Dick. Each of his fantastic novels are between 190 and 250 pages, yet each tells a compelling story and many have been turned into movies.
The second edit adds any forgotten detail and brightens up the language. This is where I focus on the nuances of writing…add bits and pieces that affect the major themes and make sure the voice of the writing is consistent throughout.
The third edit is special. During my first two edits I take notes on little details I want to emphasize later on. In the third edit, I create what I call Circular Themes. Ever see an episode of Seinfeld? Larry David takes a seemingly minute detail in the beginning of the show and brings it back later on. The story comes full circle. In this edit I create these Circular Themes to add subtle layers underneath the main storyline. Some of the Circular Themes I created in Memory Leak were meant to be resolved in a sequel. These little details will tie the two novels together with thin threads, unnoticeable without reading both books. This way, a novel and its sequel don’t have to be connected just by a continuing storyline.
I edit one final time skimming only for typos and grammatical errors.
That’s my process! What’s yours?
[Warning: May Contain Minor Spoilers]
My science fiction thriller, Memory Leak, is full of palindromes. From the tagline, “Live not on evil” to names like “Liam Mail” and “Kerrek Reinier.” My reasoning was to show that in the fictional society in Memory Leak, symmetry pervaded every aspect of life. From a person’s face, to their name, to their mannerisms, everything is symmetrical. I’ve heard from a few people that it took them two reads through to catch all of the symmetrical undertones.
The human mind likes patterns. If given the choice, our mind will put things in order, or make patterns out of nothing. Many found when first reading my novel that they didn’t notice some names and places had symmetrical features or names. That’s because their minds wanted there to be a pattern and so they naturally accepted it. I did this deliberately for one reason.
When the main character, Jonathan Hart, travels to Old Town, there is a stark contrast from the world he came from. Technically, my descriptions of the two sections of Nattan (Manhattan) were not too different. A few extra words here or there made a strong contrast in the mind. The difference between round edges and sharp edges on a table. It’s not something you point out at first and say “that’s what’s different.” Rather, it’s a feeling you get that one is more inviting than the other. My purpose was to convey the feeling that something was different between the two sections of town without telling the reader directly.
Writers: Do you employ similar techniques in your writing?
Readers: When did you notice the Palindromes? Also, how did your feelings of the main town and old town differ?
My science fiction thriller Memory Leak portrays a strong resistance to the idea of a Nanny-State (or a society in which the government has control over a lot of your life). From arranged marriages for selective breeding purposes to control of all artwork and music, Memory Leak shows what can happen when a government runs amok. I don’t want to give away took much in this blog post, but I’d like to spur some thought and debate on this subject. So, I’ve made a list of a few questions related to the above topic and I thought we could discuss them in the comments.
1) Should the government have any control or say in the institute of marriage?
2) Should the government have any recourse for artwork that portrays them negatively?
3) Should the government have a hand in genetics (be it genetic engineering or genetic research) or should those industries be private?
4) Should the government have a say in what car we drive, if any?
I hope you have fun answering some or all of these questions! If you’re really interested, I hope you check out my book, Memory Leak!
Memory Leak on Nook Memory leak on Kindle