Friday, November 11, 2016

The Hard Parts

Kris Fletcher

Just this afternoon I had cause to talk with Amazingly Awesome Editor Piya Campana about a project for next year. I had sent in a couple of ideas and we'd had some back-and-forth emails, trying to get it right. Today she called to discuss the latest incarnation, and in doing so, gave me the precise idea I needed. I jotted notes, we talked some more, she asked how I felt about it, and I said, Are you kidding? This is great! You did the hard part for me!"

And I meant it.

Ask any group of authors what's their least favorite part of writing a book, and you'll get as many answers as you have people. Some folks hate plotting: how do you decide among all those options? Some folks hate the first draft: so many unknowns! Some loathe revising: I'm sick of this story!

We won't even talk about how most authors feel when asked to write a synopsis.

I think it has a lot to do with our personalities. I've mentioned before that I am a homebody who likes the known, the familiar, the comfortable. Is it any surprise that I really hate starting a new book? Coming up with the concept ... figuring out what scenes will best tell the story ... writing those painful first chapters where everything has to be explained and the characters are still generic blobs to me ...

Basically, I dread everything leading up to and including the entire first draft. Which kind of sucks, since that's the part that takes the most time, you know?

The good part is that I love revising. Especially when I'm revising per Piya's instructions, because then, the problems have all been pointed out and my job is just to fix them. Fixing is easy. (Okay, not always. Ask me about how many boxes of tissues it took me to survive the rewrites on A FAMILY COME TRUE.) But generally, if someone else points out the problem and all I need to do is address it, I am one happy camper.

My very favorite part, though comes at the end: the polishing. I love taking sentences and tweaking them, changing up words to make meanings clearer, adding a hint of rhythm or a sly little reference to a song lyric or some other wordplay. I believe this is what's known as wordsmithing. It's my reward and I always wish I had time to linger over this stage because seriously, it is The. Best.

But I can't linger. Because then it's time to start another book. And away we go again.

How about you folks? What's your favorite part of a project - the beginning, the middle, or the final stages? Fellow authors, what are your favorite/least favorite parts of writing a book?

7 comments:

Mary Preston said...

I always enjoy the beginning parts of projects. The middle not so much. Always happy to see the end in sight.

kris said...

Mary, you are a far better woman than I :-)

dstoutholcomb said...

the middle when I'm in deep

kris said...

Oh yeah. Middles can be ROUGH.

Fedora said...

The start of a new project can be exciting, and the end is definitely a thrill. I do think the middle can be a slog though, especially those times when it goes longer than one might hope ;) Keeping on going can be a tough task! Good for you, Kris!!

Jo McNally said...

I think of writing as a roller coaster - the slow, scary climb up the incline as you develop the story idea, then the thrill of actually writing the beginning and building your characters. Then another slow down in the dreaded middle (where I'm mired right now...), and then the thrill of the finish. Once I get to the final part of a book, it feels like a wild rush of energy (wheeeeeeee!) because I can see the ending in sight. And yes, I'm one of those writers that loves doing revisions. It's like polishing something to a perfect shine.

Tammy Y said...

I like the end the best. The feeling of completion. But, I try to enjoy the journey too

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