Snapshots from the early stages of a book:

how to write book, part #392: spend hours Googling an increasingly-weird selection of search terms, fall down several Wiki holes, and after some swearing and with crossed fingers, finally get a suitable name for that supporting character you’re going to kill off.

how to write book, part #9876: create an enormous word file with a table of contents you can click through so that you can navigate your own hysterical attempts at plot outline, information dumps where you are storing any research that could conceivably help, and a long list of secondary characters who need fleshing out beyond when they’re going to die.

research hell

how to write book, part #3: explain different variations of the plot/characterisation to everyone who can be persuaded to listen to you, jot down the new points you come up with each time, and find when you finally collate all the bullshit that your protagonist has changed names about six times and that three plot points contradict each other. Swear profusely.

how to write book, part #200: note that a friend has used the phrase “Oh dear, yes. I was recently jolted right out of a book set in around 1914 by the use of ‘okay'” on Twitter, and despite not having started writing yet, panic that you are unable to commit to a different era’s language use.

how to write book, part #50: waste two to three days trying to work out what the themes of your intended book are (interclass exploitation? The essentially destructive nature of man? The ambiguous qualities of romantic love? A metaphor for storytelling?*). Discuss these ideas at length with your increasingly bored and annoyed partners. Worry that people will misinterpret the themes you have just pulled out of your arse.

* If you chose this option you are probably Neil Gaiman.

how to write book, part #67: make an entire suit from scratch:

the suit does not have to be good.

if you do not sew, substitute “make an entire suit from scratch” for whichever of your hobbies combines “wasting a lot of time” with “a sense of accomplishment that allows you to pretend you’re not procrastinating”.

how to write book, part #921: write an eminently pointless blog post about the writing you’re not doing.

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One thought on “Snapshots from the early stages of a book:

  1. According to Wikipedia the person complaining about the use of ‘okay’ in 1914 was wrong! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okay

    There are about a dozen theories about its etymology and varying reports of its first usage, with a convincing argument for its first print usage as early as 1839.

    History nerds are perhaps the most nitpicky lot outside of science-fiction fans; after a while you have to take several deep breaths and tell yourself you can’t please THEM. You know. Them.

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