For those of you who don’t know what I aim to do by the end of the school year here, which I’m guessing should be most of you, I’m trying to write a novel of at least 200 pages in length. My end goal is not to publish it or anything fancy like that, but rather to better appreciate and understand the process of writing and editing a narrative of your own creation. The project officially kicked off this past week with a huge bang. How, you ask? Well, with some glorious editing. I had written about 26 pages of my novel before I arrived at school for the year and, both at the behest of my mentor and because it would be foolish to do otherwise, I spent most of my time this week reading and re-reading what I had previously written, before editing it and making sure it made sense within the scope of everything else I had already written and will write soon.
It was within this monotonous spree of editing that I believe I encountered the formula for writing that I must follow if I want to reach my end goal by the time I graduate. The formula is, you guessed it, the title of this piece (though that is the somewhat dumbed down version). First I must create, and for me that means figuring out where the next couple of pages lie in the overall narrative (which I mapped out long ago) and whether I should throw a plot-twisting event into those pages or just fill them up with some less exciting but nonetheless necessary details on the world of my story and the people who live in it (of course, those plot-twists and world details can be one and the same at some points). Then I execute the plan for my creation by writing it. With what I have created already in mind, I just let my mind go into autopilot and let my fingers fly over the keyboard. That’s the easy part.
Then, I devote plenty of hours to editing what I wrote. Sometimes that means swapping one word for another or deleting a sentence. Sometimes that means deleting a page’s worth of content and starting from scratch. Editing is the most complex and important part of the process, because it’s where you really figure out and finalize not only what you’re trying to write, but what you’re trying to say at the heart of your words. So, there it is: create, write, edit, edit, repeat. In all likelihood, that’ll be my weekly schedule. But I’m guessing that you might be wondering what exactly my little story here is about. Let’s see if I can simplify it down for you. My story focuses on a group of traveling nomads roughly 300 years after a mass pandemic has wiped out most of humanity. These nomads call themselves The Pack (after a wolf pack) and my story is narrated by one member of The Pack, named Carter, who will eventually be exiled from his group. Sounds like fun, right? I think that it should be. And before I go, a word about my inspirations for this piece. In my writing, I’m always influenced by what I read, and this particular piece is inspired by:
The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (my favorite book of all time)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John-Mandel
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
That’s pretty much it for this week folks, so I’ll see you all next time.
Will Driscoll, signing off
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