Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Shelving: The Art of Slow Writing by Louise DeSalvo

I always feel weird recommending books on the craft of writing. A lot of writers resist being told the correct way to write, and rightfully so, but for someone untethered to formal writing classes (or other writers), having some kind of guide is indispensable. I prefer the practical to the hand-holding, and the The Art of Slow Writing to be a nice halfway point between the two.

I have a thing -- I hesitate to call it a novel because it's really just a dozen or so semi-related scenes sitting in various folders on my hard drive -- that I've been having trouble organizing. Step-by-step outlines don't work for me, but no guide is worse. I'd write an outline, add some more scenes, then go back and... revise the outline? Yeah, that's not at all counterproductive. Anyway, I took a cue from the book and decided to visualize how I wanted the finished novel to look as a whole, so I stepped back, divided it into three main parts, and wrote a short synopsis of what I wanted to say with each. Now we're getting somewhere. That advice wasn't explicitly laid out in so many words, but I did come away with the notion that I should organize my work in a way that feels more comfortable to me, and not what I think is the "correct" way.

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