a peak at the process: the graveyard

so as i write, i’ve decided to document how exactly it is that i write.  not because i think that it’s the correct way to do it (to each their own) but because in explaining it to others i might better understand it myself.  i’m not going to get into plotting or anything right now, just the technique i use while writing each chapisode.

e-fact:  i am a continuity freak and tho i can’t promise i’ll never slip up in continuity, i will promise that when it happens it’ll be something to tweet home about.

not the type of graveyard i'm talking about

when i first started writing this novel, i tried to write it from start to finish in one document.  i had heard of many famous authors who are able to kind of free-form right from the start to the end of the book.  as it turns out i am not one of them.  (also, my novel deals with multiple timelines, writing without plotting would just make a mess)

so i changed it up, i began a new google doc for each of the chapisodes in the first novel.  this helped me think in a more episodic way, to focus on the smaller bits first. (i know a lot of people have issues with episodic writing, i will blog soon on my ideas in that area.)  now like all authors, i found myself writing scenes that weren’t right, for a variety of reasons:  pacing, tension, timing, even characters.  instead of deleting them and starting over, i created a separate document for each chapisode aptly called it’s ‘graveyard.’

i know what you’re thinking, putting the bits and pieces of the story that weren’t right into a separate doc that was easy to find and review, that’s not original.  the graveyard is something that i haven’t heard other writers discuss but am sure they do to one degree or another. but i think what is original is the way in which i’ve expanded its use.  as i move on chapisode to chapisode, i begin to see more of the groundwork i need to lay in the previous ones.  if i spent all my time going back and changing things, i would never get to the end of the book (as is, it’s hard enough) so instead i started using the graveyard as a means of remembering all the things i need to change once i’ve completed the manuscript.

the graveyard also serves as a great place for me to talk it out.  sometimes when writing i know that i want a scene but i may not be that sure about why i want it there.  when this happens i just talk it out with myself, write a dialogue with myself asking questions and then i’m better prepared to tackle the scene.

now when i open up the graveyard for the first chapisode, i not only have a trove of discarded dialogue and descriptions i can reuse but i have a bolded list of things that i need to change or add to the chapisode and conversations that remind me what my goals were for writing it to begin with.

i’m sure this won’t work for everyone but it helps me keep (browser) tabs on everything i’ve got going on in the novel, and helps to keep my occd (obsessive compulsive continuity disorder) in check.


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