Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Monday, August 29, 2011 Under: Novel

I spent most of the last several days putting my notes in order. It took that long because there were ten-year's worth of them—amounting to a little over a million words. Not surprisingly, sorting them has helped me to sort myself. This last week has seen the resumption of the flow of creative juices. Not all of them directed, thank god, at Wayfarer (my novel). That had been one of the problems I was facing before, that every idea I came up with tended to get sucked into the Wayfarer cosmos. That isn’t all that surprising given just how big that cosmos is, around a dozen planetary systems at present with references to a much larger universe.

I’ve been following the advice of David Eddings, Orson Scott Card, and Larry Niven, and getting the details of my milieu worked out so that my characters have a ‘real’ stage to act upon. At the same time I’m trying to get to know my characters, finding out all about them; their history, their motivations, their preferences and predilections. It has been a very long process. The first (completed) draft has helped a lot, in so many different ways.

Firstly, having completed a whole draft, I’m now in the ‘rewriting/editing’ stage, which gives me a lot more confidence. I can do this! I can write a novel! How do I know? Because I’ve already done it. It’s nowhere near being ready to publish yet, but having a draft means I’ve cleared the first major hurdle.

Second, looking over that draft, I can see a lot of things about it that are good, and other bits that need to be either seriously rewritten or scrapped entire. This is another confidence booster. I’m not totally hopeless. [smile] I can see that most of the parts that need to be scrapped were places where I wasn’t sure where I was going and was just pushing on, seeking the trail on the other side of the escarpment. 

Third, I can see where I need to do more work on milieu building and character development. There are also places where things showed up that were totally unexpected. 

Now I’m back in the development stage, but my ideas have a little more focus. I can see where I need to do more exploration, and where I have enough detail already. There’s no point delineating every grain of sand in a desert that no one is going to visit and ignoring the basics of a city in which a million people are going to be living out their lives under the microscope of your story. (Not that I’d actually done that, exactly, but there were some pretty glaring holes.)

So, having cleared the piles of dusty notes from my desk (metaphorically), I’ve made space for the creative juices to flow into, and, hopefully, that’ll get the ball rolling just that much quicker.

In : Novel 

Tags: writing  novel  "creative juices" 
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Meet the scribbler

I'm a writer, editor, indie publisher, and dedicated Magic Spreadsheet user. Originally from Adelaide, Australia, I've been living in Japan since 1995. I've had a life-long interest in writing and in speculative fiction. My first book was published in mid-2014.
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