Welcome to another BlogHop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
What did you edit out of your most recent book? (or another book…let’s see those outtakes!)
That’s a difficult question to answer. The way I write kind of makes it redundant, or irrelevant.
I don’t edit like that.
Let me explain.
Once I get an idea for a story, I see what I can only describe as a film of the action as it unfolds. It used to be confined to my dreams, now it seems to happen at any time. I can rewind it and slow it down, pause if I need to. I just write what I see, as I see it. The one thing I can never do is fast forward, it all plays out in real-time.
In the same way that none of us can see tomorrow with certainty, I never know what will happen next. I don’t even know that I’m reaching the end of a story until I get there.
I know, it sounds weird, you should have been me when it first started. Now, I’m used to it.
The other thing that this means is that I can’t really write stuff and then find that it’s not required. As I only write what I see, it would be like editing a DVD before you watched it, or skipping bits while you were sat on the sofa with the popcorn (other snacks are available).
So why am I writing this post, when clearly the subject is not for me.
Maybe it’s because whatever process is showing me the action is doing the editing for me. I’m editing it before I write. Which means that the out-takes are all in my head somewhere. Whatever your thoughts on where an authors inspiration and creativity comes from, it’s plain that I don’t see the whole story. Taking the film analogy again, there is always more detail in the book than in the film of the book. In the same way, there’s more to what I see than what I write.
When I read back, which I do quite a bit, I will often see things that need more clarification, which is where I rewind the film and have another look. Rarely do I take anything away, all I usually do is explain it better.
During this process, I often find places where I realise that another story could be developed from a comment or scenario. Not necessarily connected to the story I’m involved in, while it might be a sequel or prequel, it could be a whole new project.
The strange thing is, once I see one of these, I very often get another film starting in my head, of how that story plays out.
Perhaps they’re the out-takes, being recycled in another form. Here’s an example of what I mean.
In my novel Ribbonworld, I invented a farm in space, an idea which led me to write a short story called The Orbital Livestock Company. This, in turn, formed part of the setting for Andorra Pett and the Oort Cloud Café.
All in all, I accept that it appears to be a weird way of working. I have no idea why some part of my creative mind is arranging things like this, I’ve tried fighting it with little success, so now I just go with the flow. I really don’t know what else to do.
Psychologists would probably tell you that there’s enough material in the last few paragraphs for a whole conference.
Let me know what you think by commenting below, then check out what everyone else on the BlogHop has to say.
I’ll be back on Thursday with another Indie Showcase.