Monday, March 01, 2010

Being in Three Places at Once

I'm in an interesting situation with my Work-in-Progress, the second book in the Rocky Mountain Adventure mystery series that I'm writing for Midnight Ink. However, because of the way I write, it's a situation I've been in before and one that I deliberately put myself in.

I'm working in three places at once in the manuscript. I just edited chapter 4 based on feedback from my last handout to my critique group (who are now reviewing chapter 5). I also just edited chapter 6 to prepare it for handout at my next critique group meeting. Lastly, I'm drafting chapter 14 in the manuscript. So, each day when I begin work, I refer to my scene-by-scene outline to see where I am in the story and what's happened so far, then re-read the last few pages to get back into the current context.

Why do I do this to myself? I like to get at least halfway through the rough draft of a novel-length manuscript before I start submitting chapters to critique group. This is so I have a firm grasp of where I'm headed with the story and the voice I want the novel to have. Then, I can put the feedback I receive from them in its proper context.

Some of you may ask, "why not finish the whole first draft before submitting?" The problem with that is it takes quite awhile to run a manuscript through critique group when you submit a chapter at a time every two weeks. And I'm on deadline for this book. So, I needed to start submitting chapters before I'd finished the first draft.

Because I'm a well-structured person (some may even call me obsessive-compulsive), I've made this process work in the past. Therefore, I'm confident I can do it again. However, it does require a lot of focus when I'm at my computer, so I try to keep interruptions to a minimum. This is why there may be long delays in my responses to emails, Facebook requests, etc.

For my writing friends, how do you progress through a manuscript?


Sheila Deeth said...

My current manuscript fell apart when I realized I was writing book 4 in the middle of book 3 of a series. I've split the two apart now and decided to do something else for a while and give the characters time to get their act together.

Beth Groundwater said...

So, Sheila, have your characters gotten their act together now, and are you working on book 3 again? Or are they still in the time out corner? ;-)

Marni said...

I've found when I'm starting a new novel that I sometimes write a chapter I know I'm going to need,out of order, if I get an idea and don't want to loose it. I just plug that in later where it's needed.

Don't you hate it, Sheila, when your characters act snarky or whine? That's when I jump around,too!

Beth Groundwater said...

Hi Marni,
I've always admired writers who could write pieces of their books and plug them in later. Often a scene is so vivid in my head that it plays over and over again while I write my way toward it. But, I'm so anal or time-oriented or whatever that I just can't write a book out of sequence. I go from page 1 to the end.

Christina Rodriguez said...

Everyone's process is different. I guess so long as there is a beginning, a middle, and an end, and everything makes sense, it's all good!

When I paint for a picture book, I jump around in the sequence. Sometimes I just like to paint the "cool" parts first, or the ones that interest me the most. If I'm in a time crunch, I paint the easiest ones first just to get them out of the way.

Marni said...

So you paint each illustration? That sounds like a great job, but i can see you'd still do the 'easy' ones first!
My book is in production now, a mystery set in England with an American heroine.She writes childrens books and is in a collaboration with the illustrator for a series. Do you do series work?
Beth, See what you've started???