Guest Blogger Becca Lawton writes about pre-writing.
Excerpt from Becca Lawton’s 8/31/15 blog post, about her time in Canada on a Fullbright Scholarship to research her book:
Writing a novel is such a huge undertaking that I’m amazed anyone writes more than one . . . I’m completing a submittable draft of my second novel . . . Now that I’m dragging my sorry carcass to the finish line, it’s fun to look back at this post written September 29, 2014, soon after the start of the project, when I was just starting to pour all my hope and energy and learning into it:
I just completed sixty pages of prewriting for a second novel . . . They’re filled with answers to questions like, “Who are the main characters in your book?” and “What are their wants in every scene?” and “Is the setting recognizable yet unique?” I’ve modified the questions from a checklist developed by Janet Neipris, from her book To Be a Playwright, a resource I find essential. Typing up to ten pages each morning before breakfast, I completed the questionnaire in a week. At home it would have taken me a month. Although the impatient part of me wanted to zip through all the questions with an “I don’t know” or “Who cares?” I focused on each one with as much focus as I could muster. Grudgingly I’ve come to admit that if I pour myself into a pre-write of this kind, the book’s first draft flows much easier. Prewriting saves time, guesswork, and rewriting sweat. A week saves months or years of labor later. I know. I’ve written books both ways.
. . . buoyed by the knowledge that I can start the first draft of my second novel tomorrow morning. That knowledge feels like a precious gift after more than a year of dreaming, applying, and then preparing to come to Canada on a Fullbright Scholarship to research a book. Every day I’m grateful for the support.