I often think there’s something wrong with me. I mean aside from all of the usual stuff. I mean something deep and dark that can’t be easily fixed. Or maybe I just don't want to fix it.
Why? Because I don’t outline and I don’t really revise very much. I just write. That doesn’t mean I don’t do revisions. I do. Mostly when an editor says, “Fix this, please.” After said request is made I’ll consider each possible revision and then do what I deem best. Normally I agree with the editors. As I’ve said before, I LIKE editors. They serve a very viable purpose in my estimation.
But I don’t normally do much more than one draft and a clean up before I send a manuscript off to be considered. I mean yes, I clean up typos. I’m not COMEPLETELY insane. But it’s amazingly rare for me to chop a scene or go back and rewrite from scratch. The last time I did that it was for Seven Forges, because I decided the scene was better left out completely.
Mind you, I say all of this while I’m doing a major revision on a novel. Like I said, rare, bit unheard of.
So here it is: I believe in striking while the iron is hot. That means I write the first draft of my novels at high speed. I don’t really read the work in progress to refresh myself as to where I left of, because I don’t normally need to. Most cases, I know exactly where I stopped and what I intend to do next.
I don’t outline. At the end of any work in progress, or just possibly as a separate file, I have a list of names for characters that have shown up, most often with one sentence to remind me about who that character is. Aside from that, no notes. I just write.
When I’m done writing, I move on to something else. It might be a short story or another novel. It might be another Dinner For One essay depending on my mood, or any combination thereof. And when I have finished that project, I go back to the previous work and look it over from beginning to end. I need a little time to see the flaws. Otherwise I remain blind to them.
On incredibly rare occasions I have used a first reader. Most times the only person who sees a work before my potential editor is me. It’s not that I don’t like first readers. It’s that I hate being THAT guy whose always asking favors. What can I say? It’s the way I’m wired.
I prefer not to outline. I prefer to finish the work before I red over any part of it again. I prefer to work hard and fast at the first draft and then take my time honing it to a proper edge.
I prefer not having to write a book a second time.
I am very, very grateful for the modern age where all of the initial revisions take place on a digital file.
I did an interview, by the way. A couple of them. But the most recent one shows up right here if you suddenly find you need to know more about me, or about my novel SEVEN FORGES.