Posted by Derek Chamberlain on Friday, November 25, 2011 Under: Novel
As I've been working on Wayfarer recently, I've noticed that I'm actually progressing backwards, both through the linear time of the novel itself, and through my own personal time. I have been editing and rewriting drafts of progressively earlier stories because they now, in the redefined context of my characters' lives, seem to be the missing puzzle-pieces. It is possible that much of the work I am doing now will never make it into the finished book, but by filling in all these blanks I am gaining a much better understanding of who my characters are, and what their motivations are for what they're doing 'now', within the pages of the text. I'm not sure if this is the way most writers go about it, or only first-time novelists. 

I was talking with a friend recently about the novel he is working on, and he described something akin to this. He was constantly going back and revising, rewriting, and re-editing as he was progressing through the text. Later developments needed to be presaged or given some contextual grounding in the past. A word or two inserted in an earlier chapter could save a thousand or two in a later on; but it wasn't just about saving words, but about saving the reader from a lot of confusion too.

I follow the iceberg concept. Ninety percent of the work I do will never appear in the story, but it is there, providing depth and weight and, hopefully, a realism that will enable the reader to suspend their disbelief long enough to enjoy the ten percent that appears between the covers. That, at least, is the goal. And that is what I have been working on recently. Well, I say recently, it's what I've been working on for the last fifteen years, off and on—the crafting of a complex universe in which my characters can play out their destinies. It sounds arrogant, I know, but isn't that what all of us are doing on a daily basis? Crafting our own complex universes so that we can play out our own destinies?

In : Novel 

Tags: wayfarer  writing  research  background 
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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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