Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Ours is an Abundant Universe

OK, no trips to foreign lands or exotic meals on the calendar this week. This week it's nothing but writing. Work, work, work.


I'm endlessly fascinated by different writers' approaches to the process of writing fiction. I devour writers' memoirs, notes, and "how to" books by the score, and I know this is an essential part of refining my own process. Looking at what has worked for others, I experiment and figure out what works for me.

For instance: I've always worked on multiple projects at once. Usually two or three ideas at once, I'd go back and forth between them, sometimes quitting mid-page on the first to pick up where I left off on the second when I was starting to feel stale. And so I'll go, as though riding multiple horses in a race, until one of those horses catches fire and I've got to take it,now, over the finish line.

Yesterday I took inventory of the various novel ideas that I'd been working on, off and on, lately. There were eight of them, not including the new one that if floating around the offices at Hyperion. Eight! Was this a race, or a round-up?

Eight novels in various stages of completion. And I like all of them. I don't think there's a runt in the litter. Some of my literary heroes, like Shirley Jackson, did not write eight novels in their entire careers.

I spent some time yesterday corraling those horses, because I don't think I can effectively run a race that large. I also wanted to make sure I had enough down on paper, character descriptions, notes, etc., so that if I did have to stable a horse I'd be able to hit the track at a gallop with it when it was the proper time.
Taking stock, I found out I had no saddle for one, no shoes for another, and one needed a good rub down and a rest. Some of the others, though, were chomping at the bit and ready to run.

I can't predict which is going to reach the finish line first. I haven't even narrowed the field to three yet. Regardless, I'm looking forward to the race!


Melissa Walker said...

Eight! I am a one-at-a-time girl. WOW.

Luke Abbott Thorne said...

Oi Dan! I'm assuming this is the daniel waters that I know...

Anyways, I can relate with juggling multiple projects at once. I'm writing a fiction - err - a few fictions right now. Good luck mate!


Daniel Waters said...

Hey Melissa-

I don't think I'd recommend my approach, which is definitely more madness than method. Once one of them catches fire, I pretty much lock in on that one unless I hit a rough patch and need a break.

BTW--I love your book covers!

Take care,


Hey Luke--

I don't believe we have met--my first blog entry deals with the proliferation of Daniel Waters's out there.

Juggling is a good word, because like a juggler, I often drop one and end up looking foolish.

Take care--


Unknown said...

You like Shirley Jackson? I just finished reading her book "The Haunting of Hill House" and I absolutely loved it. What books of hers have you read, Dan?
(By the way, I love Generation Dead, Kiss of Life, and Passing Strange. It'd be awesome if you could come down to Casper Wyoming sometime and sign my books for me. I'm totally geeking out right now thinking about it.)