Forging Books One At A Time by Guest Blogger Scott Seldon
Crimson Flower Reviews Welcomes Guest Author and Blogger Scott Seldon. Thank you for posting with us today. The Master Koda/Tasha Turner Coaching Blog Tour is an inspiration to us all.
The platform is yours, Scott….
The question that most writers get asked, and I’ve done my share of asking, is how they write. I’ve been trying to come up with a simple answer to that question and I keep coming up with a long lecture. The writing process is very individual, but sometimes hearing how other do it can really help. I found Isaac Asimov’s advice (Gold, 1995) indispensable and Stephen King’s book (On Writing, 2000) inspiring. While I will keep this brief for this blog post, if you want to hear more about my process, contact me. I’ll be happy to share the long version with you.
It all starts with an idea. All books do. Where we writers get those ideas is another subject entirely. This is about what I do with that idea. My first step is to develop it. I start by spending a lot of time thinking about it. It could be days, months, or even years. Once I reach the point I think it is ready, I sit down and write out the ideas and try go summarize the story and get to know the characters I don’t go into great detail, but I need something. I’ve tried to go with less and had hit or miss success and by spending some time and getting familiar with my idea and knowing where my story is headed, I can avoid the misses.
We writers use the terms planner and panster to describe whether we know the story before we start or if we just write and let it come. I do a bit of both. I have to know my main characters, where the story is starting, any major story points, and the ending. But with that sketch of the story, which I can usually fit on a single typed page, it give me direction while letting the story be malleable and lets me be a panster within a planned shell.
My actual writing is very straight forward. I write my first draft straight through. I turn off the in-line spell checker and I don’t look back. I forge ahead from the opening scene until I write the final line. I keep that ending in mind the whole time and by doing that I avoid writing any scenes that I would later need to cut. If it doesn’t advance me toward the ending it doesn’t get written. The exception to that are the larger story arcs I’m working on. They may not be clear yet, but after a few more books they will be.
My editing process is pretty straight forward. I follow Heinlein’s rules, sort of. I have to edit. I am a horrible typist and with the normal distractions I end up with these fun continuity issues in my rough draft. I make several edit passes. The first is to deal with the major structural issues to the story. Then, as I let people read it and get their comments, I revise as necessary (beta readers and critiquers are an editor of sorts). My first published novel, Well of Dreams, went through several revision passes as my main character went from revered ancestor to gritty smuggler. My second published novel (Pirates of I’ab, due out in August) hasn’t required any serious revision. Since I am a self-published author with a tight budget and am my own editor, I do one final round of edits, with some help, to find those final fixes to polish it to a publishable level.
One piece of advice I found not long ago concerned how we writers edit our work. The processes to write and to edit are different. Writing is creative and editing is analytical. I unwittingly have devised a process that keeps those two separate and ensures that anything I rewrite stays creative. My rough drafts are all typed. I keep my writing portable with my smartphone and a bluetooth keyboard, but everything is typed. To edit, I print out my writing and use a colorful pen to mark it up. Then I take those written comments, either from myself or an outside reader, and I input them. When I hold the paper and pen, I am an editor and when I am at the keyboard I am a writer. I can’t complain about how it works.
That leaves one last piece of my process; how I get in the zone. I use music. I have always read to music, usually instrumental. I used to seek the solace of a library to do my writing, but with a busy life, and trying to sneak in every minute of writing I can, I have had to get more flexible in where and when I write. I tried that same music and found it zapped my of energy. So, I listen to pop or rock at a sufficient volume to drown out my surroundings. I can write at home, at work, at the mall, on a plane, or pretty much anywhere. Most of my writing happens at work during breaks and at home on the couch.
So there you have it, the basics of how I write. Did I leave anything out? Want more details? Contact me, I’d be happy to answer any additional questions.
Bio on Our Guest:
Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website (sites.google.com/site/scottrseldon/) for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold. Watch for his upcoming novel, Pirates of I’ab, at your favorite ebook retailer