Monday, August 8, 2011

Writing in Layers

As artists paint on canvas, writers have to paint pictures with words.  But I often write in layers as painters will do touch ups on their pictures to make the colors blend better.  The same goes in adding detail to a scene or a character by returning to read and revise previous text.

The other day, I went back several chapters to revise.  Here and there, I added this, condensed that, but slowly the scenes became clearer.  By the time I finished, I had added two more pages to the novel while fleshing it out.

While I never write out an outline beforehand, I often find that the first run through is like the skeleton of the story.  As I go back, time after time, more clarity and direction unfold until the skeleton becomes its own person with a unique identity.  Exactly how this occurs is still a mystery for me, but that's my process and it works.  Believe me, there are days when I don't think it will work, but I keep plugging away.

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