Friday, November 6, 2009

How the Process has Changed

It's been a frustrating couple of weeks, partially because of the story I've been writing. This story required a lot of background: who the Caananites were, what they spoke, and differentiating between a qedeshem and a qedeshot (qedeshem is male). And while the research was fun, working with an only semni-familiar culture can be frustrating. How many goats was Pharaoh likely to bring with him on a campaign of conquest? I'm more interested in the logistics of how the force was concentrated than how the force fought, which is not so much what the average chronicler or diarist is going to talk about. They write about the glory of the campaign. I want the nasty, gritty details about how it happened. There's a scholarly book on Tuthmosis' campaigns which likely would clear up a few of my questions about the composition of Tuthmosis' force, but I'm up to my eyebrows in unread books, and $75 is a bit steep.

My process has changed in the last year. I used to write the story, then immediately run over it for a revision. Right now, I'm letting the story sit, generally for as long as it takes to revise a previous story and then write another one, before I get to the serious revising.

Bradbury was right. Write a lot and your work will improve. I used to have the problem of going back to a story after a couple of months and remembering exactly what all the words were, and being unable to rewrite effectively because of that. Now, because there's a fair amount of verbiage pouring out of me, I've forgotten a lot about stories I've written, so revising them is a lot easier. In what I would have said was an impossibility two years ago, I sometimes forget the names of my protagonists.

But there's one way to tell if the process has improved my work. Will it sell?

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