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Putting that handbook together was so much fun. (More difficult was figuring out how to publish it, but through a painful process, I managed to make graphics out of the page spreads.) But now, I am back to wrestling with 1) my ongoing fic, and 2) my ongoing non-fic project.

I decided the fic needed restructuring because even in fiction, there should be some underlying reality... Also, I thought I should change one of my POV characters. So I started to revise it. The first few chapters were all right, but now I've hit the point where the new POV character has perspective (and attitudes) that the former POV character didn't (this is kind of why I dropped the former POV character -- she wasn't in the thick of things and ended up observing from outside). As a result, I'm not rewriting, but writing everything for the new POV character. (Not to mention that the updating for reality has resulted in me having to rewrite lots of things anyway.) It's fun, though. And I wish I had more time to play with it this week, but there is Real Paying Work to be done and that takes priority.

On the non-fic front, I'm debating whether to restructure my novel-in-progress a bit, as well. (I am queen of "It's not quite right, BURN IT and rebuild from the ashes.") In this case, a pair of secondary characters and their kids sort of stepped in and though their story is interesting, it's kind of derailed the forward momentum of the main plot. Time to restructure... Maybe if they are nice I will give them their own book, although they are already living their happily ever after.

Are there books set in the happily ever after? A friend and I discussed this at length once -- it's obvious that there must be some conflict, but having a couple unite against the conflict rather than being the source of the conflict seems to be key. Otherwise it's a marital squabble and who wants to read about those?
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I used to describe myself, writing-wise as a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants). This is true -- I do tend to go into a story with only a vague idea of what's going on, and build it up from the inside. I would sail into a first draft, ride the high, and then get bogged down in rewrites.

But my best and most complete writing experiences could better be described as "iterative pantsing" -- I write to figure out where I'm going, then go back and edit to make sure things hang together on the front end, then write a little farther, then edit as necessary.

The pros of this are that the finished work is a lot more polished and a lot less "well, it's patently obvious that I had no idea what to do next for these two chapters..."

The cons are that it takes much longer to write this way. You get a spurt of glorious narrative flow, followed by a day or two of review and cleanup.

I've just finished a bit of cleanup and am back to the narrative flow, but as I follow this one I'm pretty sure that there might need to be a bit more restructuring than usual on the front end. Which makes this particular high a bit less fun -- but will probably make the resulting story better.


In other news, I was rereading my first novel-length fanfic (it's no longer posted online). It's better than I remember, although it's been completely trashed by canon in the meantime. (I knew that was going to happen; I wrote it between books 4 and 5 of HP.) I still like it, though.

When I wrote that one, I did it in spurts and snatches, often out of order -- just sort of following whatever scene appealed to me, then stitching up the bits later. I remember that the last scene I wrote was actually somewhere in the middle of the story.

On my current non-fanfic work, I've taken a similar approach -- writing scenes as they appeal, then tucking them at the end of the Word doc until I need them. (Sometimes they aren't used; sometimes they have to be heavily changed.) I'm not sure whether it's better than just plowing through directly, but it does make those scenes more powerful, I think, that I write them when they're fresh in my mind. Also it helps me know where my characters' minds are going.


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